You’re likely aware that this week is the last for TD Ameritrade. The final push for getting everything, all client information, investments, and a host of other data, into the Schwab system will happen this coming weekend. This change is sure to have created lingering questions, so I’m hoping to address some of them here.
First, and perhaps most importantly, please know that your personal and investment data is secure. I have all the necessary access to work on your behalf until the end of the day on Friday. I’m already established on Schwab’s system so I can hit the ground running come Tuesday morning. (I’ll be monitoring everything over the weekend as well…)
I’m planning on needing extra time over the next couple of weeks so this will be my last post until about mid-September. But know that I’m definitely still working and will be available for any questions.
Viewing your accounts –
You can continue using your portal since that’s coming from a third party, called Orion, that I contract with. Orion gets data from TD and Schwab each night, reconciles it, and presents it on the portal, so that part of all this seems pretty straightforward. Your current login credentials will continue to work, and the site won’t look any different.
If you’ve been logging into TD’s website, www.advisorclient.com, that will switch to www.SchwabAlliance.com. As with TD, this is Schwab’s “institutional” website and is different from schwab.com, their retail site. Your TD credentials are supposed to carry over to the new Schwab site. So far so good but let me know of any issues. It will be important to log into the Schwab system at least once to continue receiving documents electronically.
Other information –
Links to your bank or credit union will also carry over except in a few special circumstances. We will still use DocuSign to refresh existing bank instructions, or to establish new ones, as needed.
Since we’ll be using two separate custodians this year you will receive two sets of tax forms next Spring. These will be available in your portal and on the Schwab site, or I can always get them for you.
You may have seen disclosures from Schwab mentioning a bunch of fees for various services. Most of that doesn’t apply to us and, for those that do, part of my job is making sure your portfolio costs are as low as possible.
There are bound to be wrinkles with such a big transition but, beyond that, from your perspective it should mostly be business as usual. Like I mentioned some weeks ago when talking about custodians, their core functionality is pretty much the same and is becoming more commoditized in the marketplace. Trading is trading and paperwork is paperwork, and so forth.
But an unfortunate postscript… phishing and other fraudulent activity is piggybacking on this transition. What follows is from Schwab outlining how recent schemes have played out and some things to remember. I’m bolding a few lines for added emphasis.
Often, scams targeting advisors and their clients start with an email, text, or encrypted message that falsely claims to be from a financial institution, government, regulatory agency, or a prominent technology company (PayPal, Apple, Microsoft, etc.). From that point, recent schemes have tended to follow this pattern:
- The message the client receives contains malicious software—when the client clicks a link embedded in the message, this software installs automatically.
- The next time the client visits a legitimate financial site, the software acts, redirecting to a malicious website designed to look like the legitimate version, or popping up a message that causes the client to redirect to a malicious site.
- The malicious website may ask a client to enter personal information such as a SSN, Login ID, password, date of birth, etc. Or the popup message may ask the client to call a phone number that appears to be a legitimate Schwab or TDA assistance line. Recent reports have indicated that fraudsters are posing as Schwab Platform Support, Schwab/TD Fraud Team, TD Security, Schwab/TD Tech Support in their attempts to scam clients.
- Clients may be asked to download software such as TeamViewer, AnyDesk, SOHO or Help123 to allow the fraudster to remotely access their device. Schwab/TDA will never ask clients to do this.
- Often, fraudsters will tell a story where they need to remotely access the victim’s device to “check the accounts”, ensuring there were no fraudulent transactions, or claiming to “fix” an existing virus or malware infection. Once they have access, of course, they will steal information, or install malicious software. Using this information and access, they will then attempt to place trades or initiate disbursements fraudulently.
- When dealing with suspicious emails, always check to see if the email address has been altered.
- Show clients how they can “hover” over links to ensure the URL of the website they’re being asked to access is legitimate--for example, www.Schwab.com versus schcwabb.log.ru.
- Be careful when providing personal information. Never provide your credentials to a third-party. Verify the validity of anyone calling to say they’re from Schwab. If something seems “off”, do not be afraid to disconnect a call and contact Schwab using a known number.
- Remind your clients that Schwab will never ask them to install software like TeamViewer, AnyDesk, SOHO, or Help123 to remotely access their computers. If someone pretending to be a Schwab representative does this, they should hang up and call your firm or a known Schwab phone number.
- Avoid visiting unsecure websites. Look at the uniform resource locator (URL) of the website. A secure URL begin with “https” rather than “htttp”. The “s” in “https” stands for secure which indicates that the site is using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
- Keep your computer virus software updated to scan for the most recent malware—if a scan detects malware, remove it immediately, and then rest your passwords and contact your financial institutions immediately.
Have questions? Ask us. We can help.
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