Schwab launches digital financial planning action centre – Finextra

As part of its ongoing commitment to making financial planning easier and more accessible, Charles Schwab today announced the launch of the proprietary Financial Planning Action Center, a digital platform that allows clients who work with a Schwab Financial Consultant, Schwab Private Client Advisor, or Portfolio Solutions Group Consultant to track and complete tasks within their financial plan, communicate questions, and help work toward improving financial outcomes long-term.

The Financial Planning Action Center is available as of February 23rd, 2022.

“Too often, financial planning is a static experience. Investors may consult an investment professional to build a plan, but then they file it away and it’s difficult to re-engage with it as their financial picture changes,” says Anthea Tjuanakis Cox, managing director of digital planning. “The Financial Planning Action Center gives clients a simple, digital way to understand, track, and manage their next steps. This makes it easier to take action after planning conversations and seek support from an investment professional if needed to help drive successful outcomes long-term.”

Financial Planning Action Center leverages technology to enhance client planning experience

To access Schwab’s interactive Financial Planning Action Center, clients first schedule time to develop a customized financial plan based on their unique financial situation and goals. Once the financial plan is completed, clients will receive an invitation by email to access the Financial Planning Action Center through Schwab.com.

Key features of the Financial Planning Action Center include:

• Digital financial planning dashboard: When accessing Schwab’s Financial Planning Action Center, clients will see tasks to be reviewed, task status updates, and curated educational content. A Schwab Financial Consultant, Schwab Private Client Advisor, or Portfolios Solutions Group Consultant can add new suggested next steps and deadlines to the dashboard to help clients stay on track, such as planning for college or increasing monthly retirement savings by a target amount.

• Client engagement enhancements: The Financial Planning Action Center helps inform conversation between clients and their investment professional. By displaying tasks that need to be completed and ongoing status updates, the planning experience becomes more engaging and interactive. Financial Planning Action Center also has a messaging feature to enable clients to get in touch with their investment professional, ask questions, or request an appointment.

• Ongoing alerts and reminders: To help keep clients on track, the Financial Planning Action Center sends alerts and reminders by email and through the dashboard to keep them informed around incomplete tasks and target completion dates. It also gives clients the flexibility to change due dates or skip an action item as their priorities and needs change.

• Time savings and planning efficiency: By enabling clients and their investment professional to review a range of tasks digitally, investment professionals can spend less time on data inputs and more time during appointments on what they do best – providing quality planning experiences.

Demand for digital experiences drives innovation across Schwab

Schwab has experienced unprecedented levels of client engagement with digital and mobile investing tools and services in recent years. Over the past year, there were 3.6 billion digital retail account logins across Schwab (up 33 percent year-over-year). Additionally, over 60,000 financial plans were created in 2021 through Schwab Plan, Schwab’s free digital financial plan, further demonstrating the need for easy-to-use online planning tools. The Financial Planning Action Center is a new example of how the firm aims to meet investor needs to engage digitally around financial planning.

“We’ve seen a tremendous uptick in adoption of digital investing tools and technology, no doubt accelerated by the pandemic, but it’s a longer-term trend as well,” says Tjuanakis Cox. “Financial Planning Action Center is part of our broader initiative to combine the best of technology with access to investment professionals to make the planning experience easier and more accessible. Today’s consumers are used to doing everything online, and their expectations for financial services companies are no different. People want an easy, modern digital experience that rivals the digitally native companies that consumers rely on and trust.”

Schwab makes financial planning easier and more accessible for a range of investors

The Financial Planning Action Center is the latest addition to a wide variety of financial planning tools and services designed to support a range of Schwab clients based on their unique preferences and financial situation, from those just starting out to those seeking more sophisticated, one-on-one guidance. Additional planning capabilities available to Schwab clients include:

• Schwab PlanTM, a free digital financial plan, designed to help investors establish and stay on track toward their personalized retirement goals. Schwab Plan is not an advisory service.

• Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium®, combines the discretionary portfolio management of Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, an advisory service, with financial planning features and ongoing access to guidance from Schwab Financial Planners as well as financial planning tools. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium charges an initial one-time $300 fee for planning and a $30 monthly subscription after that ($90 billed quarterly). See disclosures for more detail.

• Investors who prefer a more in-depth or one-on-one planning experience can work with a dedicated financial advisor through managed investing offering Schwab Private ClientTM.

• Investors may also work with Schwab Advisor Network®, the firm’s referral program that connects investors with local independent investment advisors, for in-depth, one-on-one planning. Advisors within Schwab Advisor Network leverage their own financial planning software.