Charles Schwab Advisor Services has announced Project C, a broad initiative designed to help advisors increase the scale and efficiency of their practices. The initiative is also designed to help Schwab advisors deliver an even better experience to their clients.


According to Schwab, a recent benchmarking study found that the top priorities of advisors in 2010 are to:
    Increase business growth
    Increase client satisfaction
    Increase productivity
    Improve profitability

A recent Schwab study found that current technology solutions do not meet advisors expectations. The top challenges advisors face are:
    Integrating technology with existing systems
    Selecting the right vendor or solution
    Designing changes to workflows or processes

Project C, a multi-year initiative, will seek to provide solutions to help advisors deal with the above challenges. The project will be guided by four primary principles. First, Schwab's approach will focused on client relationship management. It will be built with the assumption that CRM software is the gateway to the client relationship.

Second, Schwab will foster "intelligent integration" across Schwab and third-party technologies. By this they mean full, bi-directional connectivity as opposed to downloads and one-way feeds.

Third, Schwab will pursue both modular and turnkey solutions. The modular solution will be an open architecture approach that allows third-party technology to closely integrate with Schwab systems. The turnkey solution will provide a tightly integrated, Schwab-selected suite of applications (at minimum CRM, custody and portfolio management software) for advisors who want a one-stop choice for technology needs. Both solutions will support multi-custodial arrangements.

Finally, Schwab will provide guidance and expertise in developing appropriate workflows to maximize productivity.
Schwab advisors will be invited to nominate vendors for inclusion in the initiative. In the initial phase, Schwab will concentrate its efforts on integrating CRM and portfolio management solutions. It is anticipated that phase two will focus on financial planning and rebalancing technology. Additional applications may be added later.

Schwab also plans to improve the quality of its custodial data as part of the initiative. For example, Schwab intends to include account and cost-basis data in its feeds.

No pricing or specific vendor information is available at this time. Schwab anticipates having some Project C prototypes available for viewing at their Fall Impact Conference in Boston.