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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Fischer Advances a More Holistic View of Schwab's Platforms

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Charles Schwab's mutual fund and ETF platforms are now run by a single team with a single chief. Watch for her to find more ways to connect those two sides of the OneSource business for the RIA custody and discount brokerage giant.

Heather Fischer (as reported by MFWire earlier this week) recently rose to the newly created position of vice president of mutual fund and ETF platforms. She's already consolidated two versions of a Schwab tool, and she's looking to make more changes like that. Expect to see Fischer and her team take a less siloed approach to working with asset managers who offer both ETFs and traditional open-end mutual funds, and watch for Fischer to expand her cross-platform strategy team soon, too. But don't worry, fundsters, you'll still have the same Schwab contacts.

"We made the move to further integrate our ETF and mutual fund platforms. As part of that we integrated the leadership and myself," Fischer tells MFWire. "We're putting the client first in terms of how they think about these products. There's a lot of clients who ... could use a more holistic view of them."

As part of that integration, mutual fund platform chief Doug Hanson passed the reins to Fischer and moved over to Schwab Advisor Services. Fischer nowover sees a team of 15-plus, including the mutual fund and ETF platform folks as well the 529 business and a cross-platform strategy team.

There were other shifts, too. Within a broader Schwab effort around bringing operations "into the future," the operations piece of the mutual fund platform "was folded into the overall operations at Schwab," Fischer confirms. And Fischer is about to hire someone to fill a fourth spot on her strategy team, which looks across all of the business under Chad Jones, senior vice president of asset management client solutions. (Fischer reports to Jones.) Otherwise, though, Fischer says her team is "very fully staffed."

Meanwhile, Fischer and her team have already integrated a pair of Schwab tools: the ETF and mutual fund versions of Fund Finder.

"Within the last month we launched our enhanced Fund Finder which integrates those together," both mutual funds and ETFs in a single tool, Fischer says. "We know that there are a lot of clients who want to be able to look at them together. They're not thinking about 'What's my wrapper?' first."

"Their preference, their desire was to have an integrated tool," Fischer adds. "We're looking for similar situations where we can take that client-centric viewpoint."

This is all also a big change for Hanson, now a senior relationship manager in the RIA-supporting advisor services unit after 25 years with the OneSource platform.

"It's been great to transition to a business I've admired from afar for many years, and I'm energized by the opportunity to serve advisors directly," Hanson states.

One thing that isn't changing at Schwab, Fischer confirms, is fundsters' contacts at the platform.

"They still have the same relationship management folks," Fischer says. 

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