Schwab Advisor Services is eliminating fees on a database that helps advisors sell and buy other firms, a move that's part of a broader effort to enhance its business consulting services for independents.
The changes are the latest effort in a competition among custodians to cut prices and add services to attract more independent advisors.
Schwab's Mergers & Acquisitions Listing Service is an online database that connects advisory firm buyers and sellers and enables advisors to maintain anonymity while soliciting interest and collecting information from other advisory firms on acquisitions, mergers or sales. Buyers can also search for investment professionals with books of business who would like to join an RIA firm.
As of September 2009, the database contains more than 240 buyer listings and more than 55 seller Listings representing more than $6 billion in assets under management.
In addition to eliminating fees tied to that database service, Schwab also announced it added a scorecard that lets advisors measure and track whether their employees are using Schwab online tools. Schwab also said it is now giving advisors preferred pricing on its Client Audit: Enterprise product, which helps advisors identify referral opportunities and measure client loyalty.
In July, Schwab began waiving commissions on electronic equity trades and reimbursing some transfer-of-account fees.