Charles Schwab updated advisors on its integration progress with TD Ameritrade on Tuesday, reiterating its stance that advisors should be able to avoid repapering as part of the transition.
Some five months into its integration, however, Schwab stopped short of committing to those advisors working with TD Ameritrade that the service teams they’re used to would look the same post-integration.
“We're not making any guarantees in terms of whether an advisor will keep their same service team or not,” said Tom Bradley, who is leading advisory-related integration efforts between Schwab and TD Ameritrade. Bradley did clarify that “individuals on the front lines that take calls from advisors” were not affected by layoffs.
“We really truly anticipate that there will be very little disruption,” he added.
Just weeks ago, advisors fed up with service disruptions had taken to social media to voice their complaints about the quality of service they were receiving, both from Schwab and TDAI. Schwab blamed the problems on an overwhelming influx of assets and said it was adding staff to fix the problem.
Without providing the number of new hires, John Tovar, managing director of institutional wealth management services at TDAI, echoed that sentiment. “We are currently just hiring a significant [number] of client-facing employees on both platforms,” he said. “We're happy that we're getting more folks in all of our locations to continue to support the businesses.”
For advisors concerned about the prospect of repapering, Bradley provided reassurance that advisors using either custodian were in the “no repapering zone.”
“It looks like there is no repapering, or no new signatures, required on any documents,” he said, adding that the staff in charge of reviewing the repapering requirements have made it through the more “typical” account types and determined that repapering won’t be necessary. They’re now looking at “atypical” account types to see if there’s anything there that could need repapering.
“We’ll circle back to advisors when they’re finished with their work,” he said.
The timeline for the integration remains the same at 18 to 36 months as previously stated, according to Bradley and Tovar. Until the integration is complete, “we're going to continue to operate as two separate broker-dealers,” said Tovar. “It’s business as usual.”