The Pulse Episode 5: How Should You Regard the Competition You Face on a Daily Basis?

February 26th, 2020 · 3 min read

THE QUOTE

Before we begin, let’s give some thought to competition. It’s a universal feature of business, of course, but for one Hollywood pioneer, it’s also a necessity. We’ll learn more about that shortly.

THE NEWS

Schwab Moves to Calm RIA Jitters Ahead of TDA Merger

As Schwab gets set to acquire rival TD Ameritrade, the discount broker is out with a set of promises intended to appease RIAs that manage less than $100 million, InvestmentNews reports.

Schwab, already the industry’s biggest RIA custody provider, stands to put much more distance between itself and rivals like Fidelity and Pershing with its $26-billion acquisition of TDA, which is expected to close in late 2020.

Some RIAs fear Schwab will neglect them to concentrate on bigger practices, writes InvestmentNews. In particular, Schawb’s promises are meant to mollify RIAs on TDA’s custody platform. On average, TDA-linked RIAs manage less than Schwab incumbents.

Against this backdrop, Schwab has issued the following five-point “Pledge to the independent advisor community.”

  1. Best-of-breed custody services, no AUM minimums, no custody fees — and no intention to raise them

  2. Industry-leading technology featuring open architecture and increasing access to third-party providers

  3. “Best and brightest” RIA-support personnel in the industry

  4. “Indepth” practice-management consulting for all of its institutional clients

  5. Ongoing efforts to streamline account-opening procedures to help advisors “bring clients on board securely with just a few clicks”

But Schwab’s promise of inclusiveness for small RIAs shouldn’t come as a surprise, says Bernard Clark, head of Schwab’s institutional business.

“We built our business on small advisers,” Clark tells InvestmentNews. “And [the] under $100 million [segment] is the fastest growing space.”

A First Stab at Rating College Financial-Planning Programs

WealthManagement.com is out with a list of the top colleges for financial planning, based on feedback from 67 institutions registered by the CFP Board.

In its inaugural report, the web publication ranked the programs on a weighted average of a range of point-earning indicators. The list of indicators includes:

  • Awarding undergraduate minors and majors (5 to 10 points)

  • Awarding masters and/or PhDs (15 points)

  • Number of faculty with advanced degrees (5 points for each)

  • Ratio of faculty with Certified Financial Planner accreditations (the percentage times 10 points)

In light of these and other criteria, WealthManagement.com’s 10 top five colleges for financial planning are:

  1. Texas Tech University

  2. University of Wisconsin-Madison

  3. Utah Valley University

  4. University of Missouri

  5. University of North Florida

Co-authors John Kador and Katie Tschida, express their regret that “the CFP Board declined to provide pass/fail rates for the CFP examination by individual program.”

They also note that “the ideal study would measure outputs (job placements, investment returns, salaries or assets under management after five years),” but that at present “such metrics are unobtainable.”

Wells Fargo No Longer Requires Forced Arbitration in Sex Cases

Well Fargo employees who allege sexual harassment won’t have to submit to internal arbitration to air their grievances, writes Financial Planning Magazine. The move is a first for a large US bank.

Pressured by the #MeToo movement, forced arbitration has come under criticism for allowing corporations to keep sexual-harassment scandals hidden.

Companies defend internal arbitration on the grounds it saves them — and their investors — scads of money in legal fees. But outsiders claim workers are about one-third less likely to prevail in internal arbitration than in federal courts, which they point to as an indication of companies’ anti-whistleblower bias.

In a statement touting Wells Fargo’s “zero tolerance for sexual harassment,” the bank’s HR chief David Galloreese called the ban on forced arbitration an “appropriate change to make at this time for our employees.”

In adopting this stance, San Francisco-based Wells Fargo is line with tech giants like Google, Facebook and Microsoft, which have ditched arbitration requirements since the #MeToo furor erupted late in 2017.

The bank’s new stance suits advocacy group Lift Our Voices just fine. “Wells Fargo’s decision is yet another step in ending the secrecy and silence that survivors of sexual harassment and assault have been forced to endure,” the organization said in a press release cited by Financial Planning Magazine. “One major bank can inspire others in the financial sector to do the right thing.”

THE QUOTE/ANSWER

How should you regard the competition you face on a daily basis? Embrace it, advised film producer and animator Walt Disney. “I have been up against tough competition my whole life,” the founder of today’s Disney empire once said. “I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.”