Schwab RIA Boss Bernie Clark to Retire

Schwab RIA Boss Bernie Clark to Retire

Chief Operating Officer Jon Beatty will take the helm at the $4 trillion RIA custodian.

Jeff_Benjamin
|
Wealth Management Editor
|
Reviewed by: Kent Thune
,
Edited by: Kristin Myers

Bernie Clark, head of Schwab Advisor Services, is retiring after more than 25 years at Charles Schwab Corp. He spent the last 15 years as the head of the registered investment advisor (RIA) business.

The Westlake, Texas-based custodian announced Thursday that Clark, 65, will step down on June 28. He will transition into an advisory role as part of executive moves that include Clark being replaced by Jon Beatty, the current chief operating officer of Schwab Advisor Services.

Beatty, who joined Schwab more than 20 years ago, will also join the firm’s executive council.

The company also announced that Tom Bradley, managing director of Schwab Advisor Services, will become chief client officer. Bradley joined Schwab in 2020, shortly after the announced acquisition of TD Ameritrade, where he had worked in various independent advisor and retail leadership roles.

Schwab Executives in Transition

Executive changes beyond the RIA custody business include the announced retirement of Peter Crawford after 22 years, who served as chief financial officer since 2017.

Crawford will be succeeded by Mike Verdeschi, who will become CFO and managing director.

And, effective June 28, Joe Martinetto will transition from his role as chief operating officer to become executive chairman of Schwab Banks. Martinetto’s position will not be replaced at this time and his duties will be assumed by other executives, according to the announcement.

Schwab did not respond to a request for comment for this story, but in the announcement, the company’s co-Chairman and CEO Walt Bettinger said Clark’s decision to retire was inspired by his most recent accomplishments in the RIA business.

“Recently, Bernie Clark came to me and suggested that with the Ameritrade integration for advisors complete, and the exceptionally sound footing of the Advisor Services business at Schwab, it was time to make a transition in his duties at the firm,” Bettinger’s statement reads in part.

“His impact on the independent investment advisor industry is arguably unmatched, leading the industry from its infancy to become one of the fastest growing segments of the investment services world,” he added.

Schwab’s custody business serves approximately 15,000 RIAs and totals more than $4 trillion. That compares to the less than 8,000 RIAs and $1 trillion the company had in 2019, when Schwab announced its $26 billion acquisition of TD Ameritrade.

In mid-day trading Friday, Charles Schwab stock was up roughly 1.2%, while the S&P 500 remained flat.

Jeff Benjamin is the wealth management editor at etf.com, responsible for coverage related to the financial planning industry. This includes writing, hosting podcasts, webinars, video interviews and presenting at in-person events.


Jeff is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years’ experience covering the financial markets. He has won more than two dozen national and regional awards for his reporting. He most recently worked as a senior columnist at InvestmentNews where he wrote about investment products and strategies, as well as the broader financial planning industry. Prior to that, Jeff worked as an analyst at Cerulli Associates where he researched and wrote reports on the alternative investments industry. Jeff also worked as a money management reporter at Dow Jones Newswires, where he covered the mutual fund industry.


Based in North Carolina, Jeff is a former Marine and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.