Ownership with a Big Assist from Charles Schwab

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A franchise with Charles Schwab allows a financial advisor to build a business with the turn-key support of a trusted financial-services firm.   

Many experienced financial advisors are seeking a different way to serve their clients.

They also want to build a business that provides them with support and infrastructure to potentially accelerate growth.

But what many of them don’t want are the administrative headaches and added business concerns that come with full independence.     

For such financial advisors — whether they’re currently working in the independent channel or for a large or mid-sized brokerage — the now 10-year-old franchise model offered by Charles Schwab may be a way for financial advisors to address all of these concerns. 

In the Schwab ecosystem, franchise owners – known as Independent Branch Leaders – own their own franchise business and gain the leverage of Schwab’s resources, technology infrastructure, wealth management solutions, and brand power. 

Craig Taucher

“Independent Branch Leaders want the upside of being a franchise owner, but they don’t want to be chief cook and bottle washer with all the many responsibilities of an independent,” says Craig Taucher, Schwab’s Senior Vice President, Independent Branch Services. “So, for example, with franchise owners, Schwab will actually go out and find real estate and will negotiate the lease with the landlord on behalf of the Independent Branch Leader.” 

Here are some of the key benefits of becoming a franchise owner:  

Earnings based on revenue sharing. This approach provides transparency and a revenue sharing arrangement between Schwab and the franchise owner. In the first year, owners receive 185% of all the asset-based revenue. This steps down over the course of the first five years until it reaches 50% in the sixth year. The enhanced revenues in the early years is intended to enable owners to make investments in their businesses early on. 

A turn-key approach. Thanks to the seamless nature of Schwab’s investment platform, franchise owners can efficiently onboard clients. That allows owners the ability to focus on attracting new clients instead of worrying about building a back-office infrastructure and solution offering by themselves. A new franchise owner can start work on the first day knowing that most of the operational details have been taken care of by Charles Schwab.  

The backing of a leading brand. A franchise owner has the instant credibility of being tied to one of the most trusted brands in financial services. Among its many industry distinctions, Charles Schwab is one of Fortune magazine’s top 50 World Most Admired Companies for 2021. 

A wide range of Schwab investment offerings. Franchise owners provide the same overall client service and experience offered through company-managed branches, from Schwab’s pricing to its wealth management solutions.  

The ability to expand through acquisition or sell a business. Franchise owners are encouraged to buy the practices of other financial advisors in the industry. Given that approximately 85% of financial-advisory practices simply disappear with the death or retirement of an advisor-owner, there is plenty of opportunity for financial advisors to expand their practices– or to sell to a new Schwab franchisee.  

The franchise model won over Kevin Gerard and Erin Yost, two veteran financial advisors who joined Schwab as Independent Branch Leaders in their communities. 

Kevin Gerard

A former independent financial advisor specializing in 401k plans, Gerard was one of the first financial advisors to become a Charles Schwab franchise owner in 2012 when he opened a branch in Mequon, Wisconsin. 

For Gerard, becoming a Schwab franchisee gave him the opportunity to franchise with a financial-services company and build a business on a scale that he felt would have been impossible on his own.

“When I had my own firm, it took me 19 years to get to one hundred million dollars [in assets],” says Gerard. “That took a lot of work. Working with Schwab, I now have a practice with $2.4 billion in assets.” 

Gerard is also happy to be freed from many of the back office tasks that he was responsible for while independent. “About 90% of my time is spent working with clients, which is the fun part of the job,” he says. “I don’t have to worry about repair work and IT issues, Schwab takes care of it. My biggest administrative task is running payroll and that takes about 15 minutes a month.” 

Erin Yost, a fifth-generation Montanan, became an Independent Branch Leader two years ago in her hometown of Bozeman, after spending two decades working for a regional brokerage firm. 

Erin Yost

Her father is also a career financial advisor, but they had never worked together – that is, until she became a Schwab franchise owner. Now Erin is his boss. 

Yost says that having Schwab’s name on the door is key since gathering fresh assets is always a challenge. 

”I also didn’t want to be responsible for things like having to go out and find vendors to support all the different operations of the business,” Yost says. “I want to meet with clients and not have to worry about who’s fixing our computers or who’s doing performance reporting.” 

Being freed up from many operational tasks allows her to do what she likes the most about her job: helping her clients build their assets and realize their dreams. 

Interested in learning more about becoming an Independent Branch Leader? Learn more at franchise.schwab.com or contact us at 800-291-3246.


Statements made by Independent Branch Leaders are their own and may not be representative of the experiences of others. They are not indicative of future performance or success and come strictly from the IBL’s direct experiences.


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