Question about Schwab changes

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ericinvest
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Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:57 am

Question about Schwab changes

Post by ericinvest »

I have been with Schwab for years, and they mostly left me alone self managing. Recently I was assigned a new so called consultant, and he has been aggressively contacting me, trying to sell managed accounts and/or new fixed income products. What's more, I don't know if it's intentional or he doesn't know, he uses different yield definitions to compare them to make their product look better, while actually it's worse. For example, use coupon rate of old bond to compare to SEC yield of bond fund.

I dug a little more into this. It turned out he is from old USAA wealth management that's acquired by Schwab lately. I was told they are in the integration phase but he does work out of a Schwab branch now.

Question,
1) what's the reputation of USAA wealth management, and they commission based or salary based employees? He applies tactics I only saw from advisors who chase commissions.

2) what's a good way to handle this? I like Schwab in general but don't like him or his approach to sell. Also his misleading approach alerts me. On the other hand, it's a local branch and I don't want to make it messy or weird.
Notsobad
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by Notsobad »

Fortunately, I have not been contacted other than generic emails, which I have completely ignored.

If they did contact me, I would politely decline their services.
Topic Author
ericinvest
Posts: 55
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:57 am

Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by ericinvest »

I have been happy with them until lately. Now that Schwab has those USAA so called advisors that I'm not experienced with, I just hope things don't change for the bad. I don't know others, but this one from USAA is very aggressive, and after I politely declined switching to managed accounts he pulled in so called specialists trying to convince me.
123
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by 123 »

I've had Schwab for 20+ years (Fidelity as well). I've found the best response to the inquiries offering assistance is to politely say that you prefer to do things on your own using Vanguard funds and ETFs but that if you feel the need for assistance or have any questions in the future you will contact them. The more you mention Vanguard the higher the likelihood they'll leave you alone. They are more likely to follow-up every 6 to 12 months if you maintain a significant cash position in your account or have some individual stocks in your account (it suggests to them you are a candidate for some kind of stock-picking management service). Schwab hasn't called us since we maintained totally invested positions in our accounts there a few years back (we moved the cash to purchased MMF).

Fidelity is pretty much the same thing except we've experienced more turn-over in the person "assigned" to us (who we never contact). Whenever there is a new FA assigned to us we have to take at least one phone call, say our Vanguard "hocus pocus" piece (which should be obvious from looking at our accounts) and then we don't hear anything till the next FA comes along. Rinse and repeat.

One way of dealing with the branch problem is to write a letter to Schwab Corporate Customer Service or even their Compliance Department and say that while you've been comfortable with Schwab for many years you've been uncomfortable with the recent sales calls from your branch. Ask them if your account can be assigned to another nearby branch (code words for them that if it doesn't stop you're moving your account to another brokerage). You will likely get an apology letter and not hear from the sales guy again. Snail mail is the best approach.
Last edited by 123 on Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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fabdog
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by fabdog »

I have an "assigned" Schwab person... he sends bulk emails that I delete, and calls around once a year to see if anything he can do. Does not push any product or try to sell me anything. Was helpful once in escalating an issue and getting it fixed.

If the new rep calls again, ask him for his managers name, and let him know if he keeps calling you plan to end the Schwab relationship, then let the manager know that. If it's a local branch call the manager and describe the behavior and ask that it stop

Mike
Topic Author
ericinvest
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by ericinvest »

Thanks, @notaobad, @123 and @fabdog, and for the valuable advices how to deal with it. It might be a special case, and hope it's not a systematic changes now those USAA guys are in house. In the past if I told them thanks and I would manage myself, they would stop. This time he really tried to spin it as I don't know investment and only the managed accounts work for me. He claimed it would beat Vanguard index fund net of the 0.6% or so AUM fee, and I'm narrow-minded not to try out their managed account. To sweeten the tone he offered to start from small, then gradually move more into it. I'll do a final check to see if he is intentional to make the claims or he doesn't know well, and if the former I'd definitely switch agents.
UpperNwGuy
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by UpperNwGuy »

Schwab hasn't contacted me since I first opened my account, and the guy who contacted me then was quite satisfied with my statement that I would manage my own investments using total market index funds.
jminv
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by jminv »

When I first opened with them, the assigned Schwab person called and introduced himself. Asked me what my plans were - I told him self-directed. He said that most of their clients were and that if there was any problem to contact him. I've been invited by email to a few different events since then but he doesn't hassle me. I've dealt with him once to obtain something I needed that Schwab makes go through him, for whatever reason. They're not very pushy so if you don't want to deal with the person, be assertive and tell the person that. These people have targets and have to justify their existence. If you let them sell to you, they will sell. If you tell them you're a self-directed account, they'll leave you be.
typical.investor
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by typical.investor »

ericinvest wrote: Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:35 pm 2) what's a good way to handle this? I like Schwab in general but don't like him or his approach to sell. Also his misleading approach alerts me. On the other hand, it's a local branch and I don't want to make it messy or weird.
I don't think the branch should get bent out of shape for asking things to be how they've always been.

"Thanks for the suggestions. I am extremely comfortable with self-management. There's no need to bring suggestions up to me, and in fact I'm a little too busy to discuss all the possibilities. I'll let you know if I need advice on something. Thanks for the great service"

I've never felt any pressure what-so-ever, so yeah it seems like the former USAA folks need to understand how it's been.
HawkeyePierce
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by HawkeyePierce »

typical.investor wrote: Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:01 pmI've never felt any pressure what-so-ever, so yeah it seems like the former USAA folks need to understand how it's been.
+1. It's Schwab that took over the business from USAA, not the other way around. The ex-USAA salespeople need to adapt to Schwab's expectations.
Chris001122
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by Chris001122 »

Maybe block his calls on your phone if possible.

If he got very "aggressive" with me, I'd be contacting his manager or another person and let them know that you can move your funds somewhere else if the calls don't stop. It's a pain, but worth it if you need too.

I started getting calls from Merrill Lynch from two states away when I was a Bank of America customer. I eventually had to tell the guy bluntly that I would never buy something from an advisor and to stop calling me. The calls stopped. Remember, he is getting paid to be on the phone and can get a big commission if he lands your account into his higher fee products.
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Topic Author
ericinvest
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by ericinvest »

Thanks for the suggestions! I might have been too polite at the beginning, same as I dealt with Schwab folks before. I didn't explicitly point out his misleading claims, which made him feel he could land a sale if he pushed hard. I'll tell him to stop, and if not I'd switch to another branch or firm.

The previous assigned agent before this guy did help couple of times, to escalate service requests and fix accounting issues. That's why I felt pretty happy with them, helpful and not pushy. I don't know if it can still happen with this guy.
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HueyLD
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by HueyLD »

You need to be both polite and firm by telling the salesman that you are a DIY person and have no need whatsoever for someone else to manage your money.

Tell him that you do not want him to call you unless you call him first.
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jakehefty17
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by jakehefty17 »

HueyLD wrote: Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:53 pm You need to be both polite and firm by telling the salesman that you are a DIY person and have no need whatsoever for someone else to manage your money.

Tell him that you do not want him to call you unless you call him first.
+1

Be firm. You're not interested in anyone else managing your money, and you'll contact him if you need anything in the future. Click.
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence." -Charles Bukowski
Alchemist
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by Alchemist »

ericinvest wrote: Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:49 pm Thanks for the suggestions! I might have been too polite at the beginning, same as I dealt with Schwab folks before. I didn't explicitly point out his misleading claims, which made him feel he could land a sale if he pushed hard. I'll tell him to stop, and if not I'd switch to another branch or firm.

The previous assigned agent before this guy did help couple of times, to escalate service requests and fix accounting issues. That's why I felt pretty happy with them, helpful and not pushy. I don't know if it can still happen with this guy.
Since you already told him more than once that you are not interested I think it is worth escalating. Either contact the branch manager or email Schwab corporate. I highly doubt this kind of behavior is what Schwab wants their employees engaging in.
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LilyFleur
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by LilyFleur »

Alchemist wrote: Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:00 pm
ericinvest wrote: Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:49 pm Thanks for the suggestions! I might have been too polite at the beginning, same as I dealt with Schwab folks before. I didn't explicitly point out his misleading claims, which made him feel he could land a sale if he pushed hard. I'll tell him to stop, and if not I'd switch to another branch or firm.

The previous assigned agent before this guy did help couple of times, to escalate service requests and fix accounting issues. That's why I felt pretty happy with them, helpful and not pushy. I don't know if it can still happen with this guy.
Since you already told him more than once that you are not interested I think it is worth escalating. Either contact the branch manager or email Schwab corporate. I highly doubt this kind of behavior is what Schwab wants their employees engaging in.
Ugh. So sorry you are dealing with this.
I opened a Schwab brokerage account recently, and, other than asking me if I would roll over my 401k into a Schwab IRA (which I declined), my advisor has not been high pressure. He has done a complete financial plan for me, showing me withdrawal levels based on how much of an inheritance I would like to leave. I politely declined the offer of a greater level of advisory services with Schwab with the price tag of 1% a year. I took my son there to open an account and my advisor had a great talk with him about savings goals. My advisor is a fiduciary.
A friend of mine recently bought an annuity from his Fidelity advisor. I wasn't happy about that. My Schwab guy has never even mentioned an annuity or funds with high expense ratios, but I was very clear when I opened the account that I like to manage my own money, and that low expense ratios are very important to me.

It might be better to get a heritage Schwab advisor assigned to you. Then use him/her for whatever free financial planning services they can give you--I think I meet with my advisor about once or twice a year.
He also invited me and my son to a very swank luncheon hosted by an affiliate financial planning agency. No pressure to sign up, but a great lunch and an interesting presentation that both my son and I learned from. (Although, of course, as a good BH, I already knew a lot of what they presented!!!)
kaneohe
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by kaneohe »

We get a lot of junk calls so all go to answering machine. If we're curious we can hover to listen but don't pick up unless we want to.
Saves a lot of explanations, etc. E-mails can be ignored if they send. Schwab has only called a few times, usually when a new advisor is assigned.
muddlehead
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by muddlehead »

Worked at Schwab and have our accounts at Schwab for about the past 100 years. Call them or e/m them to reiterate you do not wish to be contacted except by e/m. Period. Easy, right?
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ResearchMed
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by ResearchMed »

ericinvest wrote: Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:49 pm Thanks for the suggestions! I might have been too polite at the beginning, same as I dealt with Schwab folks before. I didn't explicitly point out his misleading claims, which made him feel he could land a sale if he pushed hard. I'll tell him to stop, and if not I'd switch to another branch or firm.

The previous assigned agent before this guy did help couple of times, to escalate service requests and fix accounting issues. That's why I felt pretty happy with them, helpful and not pushy. I don't know if it can still happen with this guy.
Just thank him very briefly, and then tell him that IF you need something, you'll call, a version of "DO NOT CALL ME; I'll call you", etc.
IF he calls again, say the same thing, and add that IF "HE calls you", you'll call the branch manager and complain and request a different rep "in case you do need some help/etc., in the future".

And then call the manager if necessary.
They don't want to lose your "assets under management", even if they aren't collecting a percentage. It still adds to the "total the branch has", etc.

We had a bit of trouble a few years ago, when there were apparently some personnel changes at the local branch, and we had a new rep. (The larger your balance/total with them including everything, the more this will matter, of course.)

The few times we've needed help of some sort, they've "been there", etc., but it's been very infrequent.

Good luck.

RM
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trueblueky
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Re: Question about Schwab changes

Post by trueblueky »

DW and I both have Schwab (four accounts in all). A few weeks ago, I received an email from an out-of-state rep about a checkup. Told her, not interested. She emailed back that she had been assigned because I live more than certain distance from a local office. Told her I know where the office is, thanks. She has not emailed me again.
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