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Rating:Schwab Pushing Advisor Referral During Oscars Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, March 23, 2000

Schwab Pushing Advisor Referral During Oscars

Reported by Jason Shank

Charles Schwab will be using the huge audience watching this year's Academy Awards presentation, to launch a new ad campaign featuring actress Sally Fields and focusing on its AdvisorSource product.

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The ad will feature Sally Fields reprising her famous "You like me! You really like me!" acceptance speech, with the twist that, in the commercial, she is shown to be talking to a Schwab rep referring her to an affiliated RIA, with the rep telling her that Schwab is providing the same referral process to many of its clients.

Schwab's announcement of the upcoming ad launch touts the new campaign as reinforcing its "ongoing commitment to independent investment advisors and the importance of the relationship between Schwab and the 5,800 investment advisors who do business through Schwab Institutional." That relationship has seen a few bumps in the road of late, as Schwab's purchase of US Trust in early 2000 (MFWire.com 1/13) had many advisors wondering how much the acquisition would encroach on their own practices.

After the acquisition of US Trust is complete, US Trust will become an option on AdvisorSource, while the program still has a long waiting list in most major cities.

In addition, the AdvisorSource program, while popular with the advisors enrolled, a process each advisor pays Schwab a fee for, has some detractors in the advisor community, as the program can be difficult to get into for advisors new to Schwab's platform. Others in the community see both negatives and positives in joining the program.

"Experience has not yet shown how long the accounts stay with the advisors," said Richard Bregman, CFA, a New York-based asset manager and president of MJB Asset Management, who said he is not currently on the waiting list and has not decided whether to join. Bregman added that while the program could substantially increase assets, joining the program was not simply a matter of paying the fee and waiting for the phones to ring, but a longer process of covering the local branches and meeting prospective referees. 

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