It has been a while since we chatted. It can be a fine line between too many podcasts and too few podcasts.
I have several agenda items to discuss. The first one is to report on how things are going with Schwab. It continues to be difficult. Their systems are just not as efficient as we are used to. An example: We were told to edit a certain field to adjust client distribution amounts. We later found out Schwab overrode our edits. We have no idea why.
A major issue is the lack of training for the Schwab Service reps. We get conflicting answers to the same questions. There are times we will call two people to see if we get the same answer. We have no choice but to adapt.
So, what are we going to do about it? We are approaching the problems in two ways. First, we are creating a spreadsheet of problems, how and/or if they got resolved, how many people it took and how many hours of labor for Financial Connections. Then I plan to send it to one of the senior officers of Schwab Institutional to illustrate what their inefficiencies cost us in time which is money. Not exactly how to make friends and influence people but we have no idea what is filtering up in the organization.
The next step – we will look at a second custodian. Now the reality is I don’t know that anyone is better. I did speak with someone who works with both Schwab and Fidelity. He said you just trade one set of problems for another. But, we will still look at what is out there.
All the former TD Ameritrade advisors are having similar problems. We are a large component in Schwab now and are working to make our voices heard. Schwab is listening but training is such a basic issue it makes me wonder.
Please join us congratulating Flavia Kirz on passing the CFP exam on the first try. The pass rate was 64%. While she is still helping us with compliance and operations, she is focusing on working with clients on their financial plans.
I’d like to share some marvelous news. You may recall Kai Bogdanovich joined Financial Connections December 2014 and left us June 30, 2022. While with Financial Connections, Kai completed her masters in Computer Science. She moved to a start-up financial technology company working remotely where she could use her computer skills. Unfortunately for her but fortunately for us, she missed her interaction with the staff, clients and our corporate culture. I guess we spoiled her!
Brian and I have been speaking with her about coming back as our third generation of ownership in Financial Connections. She will join Financial Connections on February 1 as a partner and General Manager. She will be in charge of updating our infrastructure and strategic planning. Please join me in welcoming Kai back. By the way, she is now the proud mom of a 5-month-old little girl, Maeve.
A quick reminder that if you need to make a contribution to your retirement account please get in touch so we can let you know the best way to make your deposit.
In case you didn’t read our newsletter, I wanted to mention an idea that is gaining traction to help protect your identity. If you would like, you can give us a keyword specific to you. For instance, my word might be Mendocino. Anytime I call asking for some action, I would provide my verbal password of Mendocino so you know it is really me. If this is something you’d like us to add to your profile, please give us a call.
Now for some good news. According to New Scientist magazine. Scientists at the University of Oxford are testing using ultrasound to inject vaccines instead of needles. When I was a kid, I’d run away from the doctor if he came at me with a needle. I’m an adult so I don’t run away but I do turn my head. This sounds wonderful.
Artificial Intelligence can mean so many things today, some good and some not so good. However, some scientists at MIT, using AI have discovered the first new antibiotic in 60 years. It is part of a new class of drugs and looks like it will treat some drug resistant viruses whose name I cannot pronounce.
Please feel free to contact if you would like to update your financial plan or discuss your investments. Thank you for being part of the Financial Connections family. We look forward to an enjoyable 2024.