Charles Schwab Corp. said that beginning today it will waive commissions on electronic equity trades and reimburse transfer of account fees charged by brokers for up to one year for new-to-Schwab clients of independent advisers.
In addition, Schwab Performance Technologies will waive the next year's maintenance fees for its portfolio management software PortfolioCenter for any advisory firm that custodies client assets with Schwab Advisor Services and licenses PortfolioCenter through Schwab. More than 2,200 of Schwab's adviser clients use PortfolioCenter.
As of March 31, Schwab Advisor Services had $457 billion of assets under custody for approximately 1.8 million customers of 6,000 independent investment advisory firms.
Bernard J. Clark, a senior vice president of sales and relationship management for Schwab Advisor Services, said in an interview Monday that there is an opportunity for advisers to draw clients away from banks and large wire houses.
"There is a funnel of activity that is bulging," he said. "What we can do is help to create a call to action to help them attract clients that are thinking about moving. This is an incentive."
Accounts must be opened by the end of this year, and commissions will be waived through June 30, 2010.
Schwab said that other longer-range technology enhancements are in the works, including enhanced reporting technology and straight-through data file download and updates to PortfolioCenter.
Clark said that other wealth management companies have not started waiving fees to draw customers, but he expects "to see some fast followers."