Charles Schwab’s RIA custody unit has been making more headway in recruiting wirehouse advisors, thanks to consolidator firms.            

About 47 percent of assets recruited by Schwab Advisor Services through the first half of this year came from wirehouses, according to Bernie Clark, executive vice president of the unit.

That wirehouse share is up from 37 percent last year, Clark told analysts during a company update on Friday.

“I think that’s situational,” Clark said. “I don’t believe it to be a trend. One thing happening is that we’re winning a disproportionate amount of business from the … consolidators,” he said, mentioning such firms as Hightower Advisors, Dynasty Financial Partners, Focus Financial Partners and United Capital.

“As they are out bringing in [wirehouse] firms, we become the provider for them in custodying their assets,” Clark noted.

Another 23 percent of advisor team recruits came from independent broker-dealers, and the same percentage came from banks, trust companies and other financial institutions.

The number of advisor teams is running a bit behind last year, but asset levels are higher, Clark said.

The firm added 70 teams in the first half. In recent years, Schwab has landed 160 or more.

Schwab Advisor Services added $30 billion in net new assets during this year’s first half, and for the entire year might bring in “a little bit north of $60 billion,” Clark said, which would be slightly more than both the prior two years.
Schwab’s share of the RIA custody market is an industry leading 45 percent, Clark added. That’s up 2.3 percentage points from 2007.

Separately, company executives provided an update on Schwab’s discount broker business that serves individual investors and emphasized its goal to build up the fee-based business and plan more financial planning capabilities through additional branches and more financial advisors.
Schwab chief executive Walt Bettinger said the firm would also be rolling out a new online advisory solution, but declined to discuss further details.
Whether the service would compete with existing “robo” advisors is not clear.