Tag Archives: Neesha Hathi

Technology details of Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ from Schwab Advisor Services

Schwab unveils details of Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ to financial advisers

Schwab unveils details of Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ to financial advisers

Details of Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ unveiled as Schwab arms its advisers with a robo solution

In company webcast and press release today, Schwab Advisor Services provided details of its Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ solution that the company describes as an “automated investment management solution for independent registered investment advisors (RIAs).”

Earlier I had the chance to speak with Schwab Intelligent Portfolios executive vice president Naureen Hassan and Schwab Advisor Services technology and strategy senior vice president, Neesha Hathi to clarify several details about what financial advisers can expect from the new service.

Here are my important takeaways with a focus on the technology impact for your business.

Adviser Branding, but Schwab Domain

Institutional Intelligent Portfolios™ will be made available in Q2 2015 and it will allow advisers to use their own branding, which includes their firm name, logo, and contact information inside the end-client dashboard.

However, Institutional Intelligent Portfolios will be hosted on the Schwab web domain, so advisers cannot use their own custom website domain. Advisers must provide a link to Institutional Intelligent Portfolios somewhere on their website to direct end investors to the adviser-branded version of the solution.

Proprietary Paperless Process

Once logged in to the dashboard, investors go through an experience very similar to that of the retail Schwab Intelligent Portfolios solution (but one that uses the adviser’s branding and the adviser’s custom portfolios).

Investors answer the same questions about their goals and level of risk tolerance found in Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, and upon completion, investors are matched to a portfolio designed by the adviser that best fits the investor’s profile. This paperless process is proprietary to Schwab and does not support third party form-filling or electronic signature providers that are made available by other institutional custodians.

Investors use the paperless application process to open and fund their accounts and also receive their disclosure documents when they engage in the service.

Mobile Minus Android

Schwab Intelligent Portfolio will be available as a native app for iOS devices, and a responsive website will offer an interface that is suitable for devices of all sizes.

According to Hassan, an Android app is in development but did not provide details on a future release date.

Account Management

Institutional Intelligent Portfolios allows advisors to create custom allocations from over 200 ETFs in the platform. Automated rebalancing and the opportunity for tax-loss harvesting is available for investor accounts greater than $50,000, and advisers can disable the loss harvesting algorithm if they so choose.

Loss harvesting applies only to the assets held within Institutional Intelligent Portfolios, so advisers must pay attention to transactions that trigger wash sales if substantially identical securities are held in outside accounts.

Note that advisers can view investor accounts using Schwab Advisor Center just as they do for the institutional accounts they manage on behalf of clients today. That means that data downloads are supported for assets held in Institutional Intelligent Portfolios. Since the data feeds are available just like any master account, Institutional Intelligent Portfolios holding data can be downloaded into other portfolio management software solutions available from third party vendors.

Finally, for account registrations, Institutional Intelligent Portfolios supports standard taxable brokerage accounts, joint accounts, Traditional and Roth IRA accounts, and living trusts.

Fees and Cash Minimums

With the technology attributes addressed, here are details of the fees of Institutional Intelligent Portfolios.

From the press release, Institutional Intelligent Portfolios has “a two-tiered pricing structure based on total assets custodied with Schwab outside the Institutional Intelligent Portfolios program.”

For advisers with less than $100 million in assets under management (AUM) with Schwab, investors will be charged a 10 basis point platform fee.

But for advisers with more than $100 million in AUM with Schwab, no platform fee is charged.

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios has been questioned for its up to 30% allocations to cash, but on the Institutional Intelligent Portfolios platform, portfolios must maintain a minimum of four percent in cash. The top end of the cash allocation is determined by the custom portfolios designed and configured by each adviser.



Schwab OpenView Mobile launches, allows RIAs to create branded mobile apps for iOS and Android

Balasa Dinverno Foltz LLC is one of the first RIAs to publish a branded mobile app using Schwab Advisor Services' Schwab OpenView Mobile platform

Balasa Dinverno Foltz LLC is one of the first RIAs to publish a branded mobile app using Schwab Advisor Services’ Schwab OpenView Mobile platform. Image credit: Apple iTunes


Schwab OpenView Mobile officially launches, allowing RIAs to publish branded mobile apps to the iTunes App Store and Google Play

Note: An earlier version of this story indicated Schwab Advisor Services was the first investment custodian to provide custom mobile apps to its advisor clients. Trust Company of America has been publishing custom adviser-branded mobile apps for end client use since September 2012.

Initially announced at Schwab IMPACT 2013 (see: Schwab IMPACT 2013 Report: All the technology trends advisers can’t miss), Schwab Advisor Services has officially launched its Schwab OpenView Mobile platform.

Schwab OpenView Mobile allows RIAs who custody with Schwab Advisor Services to customize and publish mobile apps compatible with iOS and Android devices.

While not the first custom branded mobile app solution for advisers, OpenView Mobile becomes one of the few investment custodians that allows advisers to brand apps specifically for their advisory firm, with Trust Company of America being another. While Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, Pershing, LLC, and TD Ameritrade Institutional all have mobile apps advisors can use to view client account information, none yet allow advisers to brand the app for use by end clients.

“Must-Have” Technology

“Mobile technology is a must-have for adviser firms looking to grow and build relationships – both with today’s clients and with the next generation – because it allows the adviser to deliver the ‘know me’, anywhere, anytime service clients expect,” said Neesha Hathi, senior vice president, Advisor Technology Solutions, Schwab Advisor Services, in a press release.

A quick search of the iTunes App Store shows that Balasa Dinverno Foltz LLC is one of the first RIAs to publish the app using Schwab OpenView Mobile.

“The creation of a branded app for our firm provides us with a tremendous opportunity to connect with clients through their mobile devices,” said Mark Balasa, Co-CEO and CIO at wealth management firm Balasa, Dinverno and Foltz, LLC in today’s press release.

Not the First

While they definitely help increase an RIAs profile in a crowded market, branded mobile apps are nothing new.

FPPad readers should be familiar with branded mobile apps available from several providers including Orion Advisor Services, Retire Logix from Oltis Software, LLC, and Boulevard R.

In fact, Orion Advisor Services’ app is in its second full iteration, as it has been more than three years since the company first introduced support for branded mobile apps for its RIA clients (watch FPPad Bits and Bytes coverage of version 2.0 of the Orion Advisor Services app below)

Nevertheless, the stakes for capturing clients’ attention continue to rise, as increased competition means more RIAs and financial services providers are fighting for attention and visibility on the next frontier: clients’ mobile devices.

How well will Schwab’s OpenView Mobile program push RIAs into the mobile device frontier for client collaboration? We will have a better idea after the first several months based on adoption by RIAs and stats on total downloads by end clients.

$5,000 Up Front, $2,000 Annually

How much will it cost RIAs to publish branded apps using Schwab OpenView Mobile?

Pricing details were not announced at IMPACT 2013, nor were they disclosed along with the press release about the platform’s launch.

But in a tweet today, Joel Bruckenstein offered pricing details on OpenView Mobile:

That’s certainly an expense that will be judged very carefully by many RIAs, given that a wide range of app development options exist for a fraction of the price.

For comparison, note that Orion Advisor Services offers a branded mobile app for its adviser clients at no additional cost.

App Alternatives

A quick Google search revealed one template-based tool called iBuildApp, and for $799/year, one gets all the bells and whistles of publishing an app complete with screens for contact information, blog feeds, video lists, and event listings.

Granted, one BIG difference between OpenView Mobile and all the other third-party app platforms is the ability of OpenView Mobile to show daily client account balances from their Schwab accounts in the app.

So you decide: if you need to give your clients the ability to check their Schwab account values from within your branded mobile app, then OpenView Mobile is your solution.

Use this link to read the full press release at BusinessWire.com.

Schwab IMPACT 2013 Report: All the technology trends advisors can’t miss

Bernie Clark, executive vice president of Schwab Advisor Services, kicks off IMPACT 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Bernie Clark, executive vice president of Schwab Advisor Services, kicks off IMPACT 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Schwab IMPACT 2013 kicked off its pinnacle event in Washington, D.C. this year with a big focus on the technology trends sure to change the financial services industry in the foreseeable future.

Here are the most important technology announcements provided by various members of the executive team inside Schwab Advisor Services.

Project PM2 Coming

Likely the most intriguing announcement from Neesha Hathi, SVP of Advisor Technology Solutions is the preview of a new portfolio management software platform called Project PM2 (“PM Squared”).

Neesha Hathi, senior vice president of Advisor Technology Solutions, shares the latest on Schwab’s technology offerings at IMPACT 2013.

Neesha Hathi, senior vice president of Advisor Technology Solutions, shares the latest on Schwab’s technology offerings at IMPACT 2013.

From a video shown at Schwab IMPACT, the preview of PM2 featured a tile-like interface reminiscent of Windows 8. Project PM2 will offer proactive alerts for events like new account funding, trading reports, and revenue metrics.

PM2 will be a cloud-based solution offering direct integration to Schwab data feeds. Reports and presentations offer dynamic capabilities and will support one-step publishing to a variety of client delivery mechanisms.

PM2 to be Multi-Custodial

In a later interview with Brian Shenson, vice president of Advisor Technology solutions, he said the roadmap for PM2 includes multi-custodial data support as well as the potential integration of account aggregation software.

Shenson added that Schwab Advisor Services already has long-standing relationships with providers like ByAllAccounts and CashEdge from FiServ.

Details on pricing and availability for PM2 were not announced at IMPACT.

Schwab OpenView Mobile

Hathi also announced a current pilot program underway to provide affiliated advisors with a branded mobile app that clients can use to interface with their advisor.

Schwab OpenView Mobile is the official program, and Hathi explained that clients can use the branded app to view real-time account data and review their advisor’s contact information.

Schwab OpenView Mobile will be available for a nominal fee which was not disclosed during the Schwab IMPACT breakout session.

Reinvented Wire Requests; DocuSign Integration in Schwab Alliance

Naureen Hassan, senior vice president, Client Experience, shares the latest on Schwab’s technology offerings at IMPACT 2013.

Naureen Hassan, senior vice president, Client Experience, shares the latest on Schwab’s technology offerings at IMPACT 2013.

Naureen Hassan, SVP of Client Experience revealed that in an average quarter, Schwab manually verifies over 240,000 signatures across a variety of forms. Clearly Schwab recognizes the ability to increase operational efficiency here with the adoption of electronic signature support.

Hassan announced two pending initiatives. First, wire requests will be “completely reinvented,” as advisors can initiate wire requests via Schwab Advisor Center. Upon submission, clients will actually receive alerts on their mobile phone, and then they can log in to a Schwab app and approve the wire request on the spot.

This overhauled wire request process is aimed to combat fraud and theft in the industry due to a significant rise in client spoofing (see: Client spoofing strikes again, RIA loses $290,000 of client funds)

Second, Hassan announced that DocuSign is currently in a pilot program and will soon be completely integrated in the Schwab Alliance system. Details on when DocuSign will be formally introduced for all Schwab advisors were not disclosed.

MoneyGuidePro Now Part of Integrated Office

Brian Shenson, vice president, Advisor Technology Solutions, shares the latest on Schwab’s technology offerings at IMPACT 2013.

Brian Shenson, vice president, Advisor Technology Solutions, shares the latest on Schwab’s technology offerings at IMPACT 2013.

Brian Shenson, VP of Advisor Technology Solutions was the next to take the stage and provide updates on the suite of Schwab OpenView solutions: Gateway, Integrated Office, Workflow Library, and MarketSquare.

Of most relevance is the addition of financial planning software integrations to Schwab OpenView Integrated Office™ platform. The first integration is with PIEtech to integrate MoneyGuide Pro financial planning software. NaviPlan from Zywave was also mentioned as an integration coming soon to Integrated Office.

MarketSquare Update

If you recall last year, Schwab announced the introduction of Schwab OpenView MarketSqaure, a review website consisting of advisor-submitted feedback on technology vendors and providers.

At this year’s IMPACT conference, Hathi said that over 70 providers have the potential to be listed in OpenView MarketSquare, but only 34 of them have a sufficient number of reviews to be publicly listed in the resource.

Hathi urged advisors in the audience to continue to submit their reviews of tools and services they use so MarketSquare can increase the number of providers present in the website.
34 have reviews.

All photos by Billy Cole/Orange Photography for Charles Schwab. Used with permission.

Schwab Advisor Services’ Neesha Hathi discusses innovation, differentiation, and pending technology rollouts

After spending several months on the road, spotlight video interviews are back!

Neesha Hathi is senior vice president of Advisor Technology Solutions at Charles Schwab and a member of the senior leadership team for Schwab Advisor Services.

Neesha Hathi is senior vice president of Advisor Technology Solutions at Charles Schwab and a member of the senior leadership team for Schwab Advisor Services.

I recently had the pleasure to sit down and speak with Neesha Hathi, senior vice president of Advisor Technology for Schwab Advisor Services, on a number of topics.

In this seven-minute video, Hathi highlights how Schwab is able to maintain its agility in innovation despite its large size as an organization.

For details on all of Schwab’s recent announcements, see RIA technology updates from Schwab Advisor Services’ Tech Talk series posted here yesterday.

Hathi also explains how Schwab Advisor Services has gathered extensive feedback from their advisors to enhance the web trading platform in use by thousands of firms everyday.

(click here to watch on YouTube)

RIA technology updates from Schwab Advisor Services’ Tech Talk series

Neesha Hathi, Senior Vice President of Schwab Advisor Services

Neesha Hathi, Senior Vice President of Schwab Advisor Services

In a move to be more visible and transparent, Schwab Advisor Services launched a periodic series of conference calls called Tech Talk, featuring the latest updates on Schwab’s technology and related services for independent investment advisors.

Here are the most significant updates from the latest conference call held Monday June 24, featuring updates by Schwab Advisor Services Senior Vice President Neesha Hathi and Vice President Brian Shenson.

Schwab Intelligent Integration

Over 700 advisors are using some kind of solution from Schwab Intelligent Integration, which includes Schwab OpenView Gateway and Schwab Integrated Office. The Schwab OpenView Workflow Library (hey, I don’t choose the names for these solutions!!) is not included in the advisor count (see the next item).

The Schwab OpenView Workflow Library resources have been downloaded over 8,000 times with over 1,000 firms benefiting from the information.

New financial planning software integrations were announced, with Zywave’s NaviPro Planning Suite and PIEtech’s MoneyGuidePro to be added soon to Schwab OpenView Gateway. The integrations will allow financial profile and account information to be delivered from the custodial application to the planning software.

OpenView Gateway will also include the Envestnet|Tamarac Advisor Rebalancing® application. Here, too, advisors will be able to access Schwab’s custody data using the rebalancing application to evaluate and generate trade instructions to streamline portfolio rebalancing.

Move Money Directly from CRM

One of the features hinted by Hathi and Shenson is the ability advisors will soon have to initiate Move Money transactions directly from their CRM of choice.

Move Money requests have historically been restricted to the Schwab Advisor Services online custody platform or by placing a phone call to a service team. According to Shenson, Move Money from CRM will first appear in OpenView Gateway for all Salesforce CRM users, currently estimated to be roughly 200 advisory firms today. Soon after, Move Money will be made available to all Schwab OpenView Gateway CRM partners, which includes Junxure, Salentica, and Envestent|Tamarac.

PortfolioCenter Hosted Update

According to Hathi, roughly 40 advisory firms have contracts in place (which I take to mean not completely rolled out as of today) to use PortfolioCenter Hosted in their business.

Black Diamond Integration

Hathi also updated the Schwab OpenView Gateway integration with Black Diamond software from Advent Software, Inc. Black Diamond is in pilot testing with real time custody data, and is expected to reach general availability by the end of July 2013.

Web Trading

In one of the most eagerly anticipated updates, Hathi updated the status of the new web trading platform in Schwab Advisor Center. The new web trading layout will begin to roll out to select advisors in July 2013, with all of Schwab’s advisors using the new functionality by the end of the year. A preview of the layout is below.

A preview of the anticipated updates to the web trading interface from Schwab Advisor Services

A preview of the anticipated updates to the web trading interface from Schwab Advisor Services

OpenView MarketSquare

OpenView MarketSquare has been available to advisors for several months, and nearly 600 reviews are now available covering roughly 80 products used by advisors.

Mobile Initiatives

In response to a question submitted via Twitter, Hathi addressed coming changes in mobile initiatives from Schwab Advisor Services. Coming soon will be the ability for advisors to use the Schwab Advisor Center mobile app to conduct remote deposit of client checks.

Schwab’s retail customers have enjoyed remote deposit from the retail mobile app for well over a year, so finally this functionality is making its way to advisor devices for those who continue to receive checks from their clients.

Finally, Schwab will add functionality to the retail app to allow clients to authorize a wire transfer request submitted by their advisor.


FPPad Bits and Bytes for June 8

So, have you reset your LinkedIn password yet?

With Boston on my schedule Monday through Wednesday (and some new video filmed that is coming soon), followed by Atlanta on Thursday and Friday, you can understand how frequent posts just aren’t high on my priority list. Nevertheless, I’m devoted to giving you the BEST (not simply all) technology stories from around the web this week.

Here are this week’s stories of interest:

Cabinet NG Launches CNG-SHARE, Secure File Sharing Portal from Yahoo! Finance

[See, enterprise and business document management providers won’t stand still while consumer services like Dropbox race ahead. Here, Cabinet NG is extending its functionality by offering a portal to share documents in the CNG repository with individuals outside of the firm (e.g. your clients). The portal can be white labeled for your firm, too. Though not as slick as Dropbox’s desktop sync, it’s a step in the right direction.]  Cabinet NG (CNG), provider of electronic document management and workflow management software, today announced the availability of the industry’s first fully integrated document management, cloud-based file sharing, and workflow solution.

Can Future Advisor be the self-driving car for financial advice? from O’Reilly Radar

[Give FutureAdvisor credit: I filmed Bo Lu last month at FinovateSpring 2012, and in the last week, they received this feature in O’Reilly and one in the Wall St. Journal. Advisers, you need to pay attention to what these new web apps are doing for clients that you’re turning away because of low assets.]  Future Advisor launched in 2010 with the goal of providing better financial advice through the Internet using data and algorithms. They’re competing against startups like Wealthfront and Betterment, among others.

Schwab shifts its strategy on its massive Intelligent Integration from RIABiz.com

[I was on Schwab’s press call 30 minutes after delivering a presentation in Boston. Credit to Brooke for turning this article around quickly, which captured much of the essence of the call, while I was in holding patterns over a stormy DFW airport.] Schwab Advisor Services has shifted strategies on its giant Intelligent Integration initiative, and rather than picking the best of breed in technology categories, the firm is looking to select the industry’s top platforms.

Black Diamond is setting its sights on smaller advisors and other things I learned over breakfast with Reed Colley from RIABiz.com

[Another great segment from Brooke on Black Diamond’s first year under the umbrella of Advent (see Advent Purchases Black Diamond Performance Reporting for Approximately $73 Million). But what isn’t discussed is what Black Diamond is doing to address the challenges of scaling up the adviser on-board process, training, and customer support of critical portfolio management software. Anyone want to chime in?] Since being acquired at this time last year by Advent Software, Black Diamond has increased its assets administered by 75% to $110 billion and it now serves 350 advisory firms.

Managing Customer Contact from Financial-Planning.com

[The category of CRM software for advisers is crowded, yes, but there really are just a few market dominators followed by a long tail of solutions with 1%-2% adoption. Joel Bruckenstein highlights new player Wealth Advisor CRM. My take? Registered reps might find it useful, independent RIAs likely will find it limited. At $65/month for a 15-user database, Redtail is a very attractive alternative.] Advisors already have no shortage of customer relationship management products to choose from, so does the marketplace really need another one? The folks at Wealth Advisor CRM think so, and perhaps they are right. Their offering may be just different enough and inexpensive enough to attract a sizable following.