Non-Beta Alpha Clearing Week:

Tim Oden, Senior Managing Director, Advisor Services, Charles Schwab

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Ryan:
Welcome to Non Beta Alpha. I’m Ryan Morphin. On today’s episode we have Tim Oden from Charles Schwab Advisor Services talking to us about the future of the RA landscape. This is Non Beta Alpha.
Tim, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for joining us today.
Tim Oden:
I appreciate it, Ryan. Thanks for the invitation. It’s a pleasure to speak with you.
Ryan:
Well, I’ll jump right into it. You definitely cover a lot of ground. Schwab has been all over the news in 2019 and 2020. I’d love to hear your thoughts about the changing landscape and the macro trends in wealth management today.
Tim Oden:
Yeah, well it’s interesting. There certainly is a lot of activity and information around things like mergers, acquisitions, things along those lines, ourselves included in that. They’re in the middle of one. So you could certainly point to that as a trend within the wealth management space, is that scale matters and being a scale player is going to make a difference in the way products and services are delivered.
It’s going to make a difference in the way firms survive and thrive going forward. So that’s clearly one, but it’s interesting, that’s a spreadsheet kind of activity in many regards and income sets. I think what’s more interesting and intriguing to us is that when you think about some of the trends that are driving wealth management, it really is related to kind of the evolution of the client experience. If there is a silver lining, and I want to be careful here because I really would prefer we didn’t have this pandemic, but if there is a silver lining to what we’re learning in response to the pandemic is that the client experience isn’t defined the way we always thought it was. The wealth management space and the financial services business in general, industry in general, has been stuck a little bit and been slow to move and embrace a lot of the technologies that allow us to change the way we define and deliver client experience.
So what’s really exciting to us is when you think about the appropriate application of technology in how you create a more positive client experience. So when you think about even podcasts like this are changing the way we all consume information. To see work from home limitations start to have an impact into the way we are communicating, and advisors are communicating with their clients. This desire to be contact-less, driving a huge demand from owners of wealth, the consumers themselves to change the way they interact. They don’t want to come into the office. They don’t want to get physical analog paperwork. All of that is coming to a boil so very, very quickly and forcing us all to change. So when you think about a macro change in the industry, to us we’re really intrigued by what’s the client experience going to look like and how does technology enable that? That’s really pivotal in terms of to go for it. So that’s where we’re spending a great deal of our time.
Ryan:
The secular trend backing the independent open architecture movement, are you seeing it slow down over the last few months or is it a steady drum beat of people marching to independence?
Tim Oden:
Oh, well, so tale of two stories. Let me frame the response to that question because I think it’s really an interesting debrief here. Advisors, because of market volatility and kind of this work from home environment, have slowed down. Their movement is slowed down. In fact, the second quarter was, after the first quarter, starting off with a bang and just exceeding all expectations. Second quarter really kind of hit the brakes. That makes sense if you think about it. Advisors, regardless of the environment they’re in, the channel they’re in, they’re spending a great deal of time not only trying to figure out, “How do I connect with my clients?” but navigating a lot of volatility in the marketplace. So that slowed down advisor movement.
What’s interesting though, is the converse of that is that consumers. What we saw was, in the first half of the year, the strongest organic growth numbers for existing RIAs we have ever seen in our history. So what drives that? Well, that’s consumer driven. Consumers are understanding there is a different model and they are choosing to move to that model, a model that is more enabled to be able to adapt to a more digital environment. And the RIA space is well positioned for that because there’s so many of our best run practices that those advisors have already adapted and have chosen technology that enables them to prosper in a digital environment.
So now here comes the pandemic. Here comes the change in consumer sentiment around how they want to receive and consume financial advice and what meetings even look like. They realize, “Wow, where I’m at can’t evolve fast enough. I’m going to seek out a different provider.” And so what we’ve seen is advisors in the second quarter advisory moment to independence has slowed down. Although I will tell you that that is starting to reconcile and remediate back, and it’s really starting to pick up. Second half will be much stronger than the first, but consumers have really driven the growth of our business. That’s been fun to see because consumers are more informed and more in control now than ever before, and that’s a wonderful place to be.
Ryan:
Yeah. You talk about educating and advocating full transparency in this marketplace. One question for you is, as clients look at where their advisor’s clear at, the pricing model has shifted and changed. I’m wondering, how does that pricing model evolve going forward? Is it something you think the other competitors are going to have to match, or is the negative interest rate, potentially low interest rate environment, going to create new bespoke pricing for different types of practices?
Tim Oden:
Yeah. It’s a good question and I’m not sure that we have an answer to that yet. I think the market will tell us what’s the appropriate pricing structure and how to price. What I can tell you is that transactional based pricing is becoming harder and harder to justify. I mentioned earlier scale matters. It allows you the ability to be able to influence pricing in a positive manner. What’s wonderful about this is that from the client’s perspective, which is how we view things, the client’s perspective, all of this is fantastic, right? The cost of engaging in the wealth management industry, the cost of engaging markets, continues to come down, and that benefits more. So more people can participate. We think that’s really critically important. It needs to be.
Participation in the equity markets in this country is vital to longterm sustainable wealth development. We all know that, and that’s something we believe very much. So when we think about pricing, we are very committed to looking for ways that are going to enable consumers to participate more in the market in a value oriented cost efficient way. Does that mean we shift the way we receive revenues? Sure. It has to be. I mean, when we drop a transactional pricing for equities to zero, clearly we have to shift because it’s not that the expense of producing that goes to zero. So we have to shift how we’re going to make the revenues up elsewhere. We think scale matters to that, so we don’t have to make a compromise and say, “Okay, we’re going to increase pricing over here.” We don’t have to do that if we’re big enough and we have the scale. We can continue to drive pricing down across all product and services in a way that benefits advisors. That’s really where we’re focused.
Ryan:
In this new normal it’s impossible for advisors, in our opinion, to opt out of this digital moment. So what kind of permanent adjustments to operating models have you started to see play out post COVID?
Tim Oden:
Well, we’re on it. This is a great example. Look how effective your podcast series has been and how informative it is. We’re getting so used to this being the norm for consuming information and opinions and viewpoints. That’s not going back. That genie isn’t going back into the bottle, Ryan. And I credit you. You’ve done such a great job of creating this type of a platform. We as well have tried to look for ways for us to create, whether it’s a podcast series or engagement, a deeper engagement of social and digital outlets, social media, things like using Twitter and LinkedIn and Instagram and Facebook. All of that gives us an ability to be able to distribute a perspective in a way that is consumable to a variety of different people in a way that’s comfortable for them. That genie doesn’t go back in the bottle.
In fact, I think it gets accelerated. Now here’s what’s interesting, is not everybody’s going to be able to make that jump. You’re on the forefront of that. We’d like to think that we’re trying to fast follow you, but we’re working hard to try and figure out how to leverage these channels in a way that is appropriate. First of all, we’re in a regulated business that it’s appropriate, but that it meets our clients where they want us to meet them. Not all firms are going to be able to make that pivot. I think consumers are going to not just appreciate it, they’re going to demand it and that they are going to vote with their feet for providers of information and delivers of trust. Trust used to be you and I sitting across the table in person shaking hands.
Well, it’s true. There will always be an element of in-person relationship building. More and more that’s going to be secondary to our ability to be able to create a trusted relationship through digital means, contact-less. I think that’s the new norm. So when we think of our top performing, we just, my colleague Lisa Salvie and her team just finished our RIA benchmarking survey. So she and I were speaking recently about some of the findings of that. I don’t want to steal her thunder. She’s got a lot of information coming out for the market to consume, but what we find is, is that-
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Tim Oden:
… for the market to consume. But what we find is, is that those advisers that began to adopt digital and social in their communication string, think about showing up with an iPad rather than a presentation deck, being able to have WebEx meetings, as a normal course of service delivery … Those advisors that were seeing that ahead of time and took that that leap before, are absolutely realizing the advantages now, because it’s not an adjustment for them. They’re already there, and they are growing significantly faster than the rest of the market is. They’re reaping the benefits of that because they already know how to do it so they can leverage it.
So, I think that’s going to become more of the norm. Not everybody will be able to make that shift, but I think what we’re onto in podcasts like this is going to become how we consume services going forward. We’re going to see more of it, not less.
Ryan:
Yeah, I think the genie is definitely out of the bottle, and with the technology out there today, it’s not all that expensive. So, it’s about effort and understanding the ways to produce the content.
One question for you, as it relates to, I guess, this new normal. You talk to some of the best advisors in the industry. What are some best practices, in terms of practice management or communication with clients, that you’ve seen people roll out that are creative and also meaningful to clients?
Tim Oden:
Yeah, well, so best practices. Clearly, you need to have a presence. When people are looking for that next solution, when their current solution isn’t meeting their needs, where do they go? Well, they still ask for referrals, but more often than not, they shop digitally. And so, if that’s the work environment they’ve got, you have to be there, and a brochure where website is probably not enough in this new environment. You have to have something more interactive.
I’ll leave the names out of it, but when I think of really forward thinking firms, they’re engaging in things like virtual reality. When I think about those that are the next wave below that … Because that’s pretty far out there and that’s pretty interesting. I think that becomes more powerful. Right now, though, you see people that have a regular presence on Twitter, they have a regular presence in LinkedIn, and it is a daily occurrence. So, best practices, not just create a Twitter account and maybe once a week tweet out an opinion that sounds or looks just like everybody else’s. It’s be current, be aggressive, be out there with an opinion. Create a human nature of who you are that demonstrates your individual firm’s culture in a digital format.
And so, what does that look like? Well, you see content being developed where you’re in homes. I mean, look at … I’m sitting in my home and every now and then you’ll see a family member walk by. Well, that used to be, “Oh my God, this is so professional.” Now, that’s human, and that human nature is changing the way we are perceived. Advisors who are embracing that are really exhibiting the best practices because it makes them human. And in a very digital world, we need that human connection. We need to equate that. So, that’s some of the best practices.
I think the other thing is, and this is something, Ryan, I think, we’ve talked about this for a long time, and that is increasing the pool of talent in the wealth management space. I think this is the next frontier. We can all look at some of the social issues that I think that, universally, we want to address that require a great deal of time and attention and thought. But how do we, at the heart, how do we diversify thinking? How do we diversify employment? How do we bring new perspective and experiences? Certainly, we want to bring gender equality. We want to bring in people of color, people that otherwise have not seen wealth management as a viable career option. We want to bring them into this space.
But there was a foundational limitation, that was geography before. Well, when we’re in a work from home environment, or primarily work from home environment, one of the benefactors of that is that the talent pool can increase. We can take away those geographic barriers, and that provides us with access to talent that enables us to pull people in from around the country, around the world. We can bring in new perspectives, we can bring in new experiences. And I think that has this wonderful opportunity, for all of us in wealth management, to be able to diversify and that only makes us stronger. That increases the access to talent, and it makes us able to create more of a national footprint without having to buy expensive real estate in every market we’re expanding to.
So, those are some of the new cutting edge opportunities that are coming out. I think we’re on the front end of that, Ryan. To be honest with you, I think there hasn’t been enough work done there, but I think more and more advisors are saying, “What do I need all this expensive space for in downtown Manhattan?” Or, “Why do I need this in Chicago or in LA? Maybe I need a small space, but if I don’t need the space, everybody’s working from home, why don’t I look for talent in other areas of the country?” Could reduce the cost of that talent, but it also brings in diversity of thinking and experience. I think that’s the next big frontier, and we’re excited about that.
Ryan:
Well, I think the wirehouses, James Gorman recently said, “We’re going to probably reduce our footprint in real estate.” And so, I think that’s a calling card for the wealth management division to wake up and I think it’s a huge opportunity for the independent movement. I think they’ve been tethered to the wirehouses because they had real estate. And if that’s no longer an important piece of the puzzle for them, there’s going to be a lot of people who leave the business card on the desk and go independent, I think. Would you agree?
Tim Oden:
I completely agree. Because if you think about the difference, one of the fundamental differences, you know this as well or better than I, is that one of the fundamental differences between the two channels … If you think about the wirehouse environment, you think about the independent channel, the RHEL, is that the wirehouse environment as a broker dealer, you have to create policies and procedures and oversight that applies to a large number of advisors, of registered representatives. And so, you tend to make them fairly restrictive or controlling because you have to account for the lowest common denominator.
Well, and RIA doesn’t have to do that, right? They don’t have to worry about that because the majority of them still do not retain affiliation with a broker dealer. Many of them do, but most of them still don’t. But they have the flexibility to be able to pivot in that area much faster, and I think that gives them a structural advantage over the wirehouses and some of the banks that, they can pivot quick. They can create very customized client solutions, client experience solutions. They can adopt technology immediately.
When you think about the timeless , and I love this one, when you think about the timeliness of getting that message out … Okay, I’ve got, I’ve got Twitter, I’ve got all these different social media channels, and in a wirehouse environment, I want to get a perspective on market volatility. I want to get a perspective out on what the fed just decided to do. I want to get a perspective out on some of the social unrest and the implications to us. In a wirehouse environment, how long does it take to get something written and through compliance, approved, and back? By the time it comes back, it’s either cut up or it’s so delayed it doesn’t have a relevance. And in an RIA community, they don’t have that delay.
Now, they still have responsibilities to ensure that it’s appropriate communication, don’t get me wrong, but the time be able to go from, “I have an idea,” to getting a timely communication out is so much faster than what a wirehouse or a bank can do that RIA advisors are going to be able to take advantage of that. I think that’s going to give them a tremendous opportunity when it comes to developing new clients. Gross, right now, for existing advisors, is off the charts. It’s just off the charts. I referenced it earlier and I think that’s going to continue.
Ryan:
Yeah, I think people who are embracing technology are going to have the best year ever this year. Because you’re right, people are looking for platforms that they can digest content in a no touch economy.
One question I have for you is, going back to the wirehouse discussion, Joe Duran, someone I have a tremendous amount of respect for, United Capital’s a great firm, Goldman bought them. Do you look at that as a exclamation point that this industry, the independent movement, has become institutionalized and that the wirehouses have to come back in and buy assets back? Or, is it a strategic model that they’re trying to go on the consumer banking, main street type of a platform that they’re trying to build out?
Tim Oden:
Yeah, it’s a good question, and I will tell you I’m not, I’m not smart enough to know all the drivers for some of the decisions being made. But clearly, you have to stop, Ryan, and look at that and say, “What’s afoot here?” What I will say is this, that I think the RIA, the movement to independence and the control that it gives you to be able to provide clients with transparent, fiduciary-oriented advice and service, the ability to be able to market and control so many aspects of the way you service advisors, that has been a longterm trend for as long as I can remember. Decades, it has been moving in the same direction.
We reached an inflection point a number of years ago, where it stopped being a nuisance and started being just this trend that I think all the wirehouses and all the entrenched wealth management models had to stop and take notice and say, “What’s going on? We’re losing market share, and it’s fast. What’s going on here?” Well, they can’t turn that shit. And so, they’ve got a really tough situation. They can continue to work within that model to make it more attractive to their advisors, but there are limitations to that, how much they can morph that model.
So, how do they take advantage of that without completely alienating their existing advisors? Well, that’s got to be a tough decision for them and it’s tough strategic problem to solve. One of them is to buy into the space. And the problem they’ve got is, is that how do you do that at scale? And I think that’s one of the challenges. And so, whether it’s Joe and United Capital or others that have entered into that space, I think there’s going to be a lot more attention paid to those large RIA firms and whether or not some of the entrenched existing models can start to diversify the way that …
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Tim Oden:
… thing models can start to diversify the way they delivered services by buying into this space, because they they can only change tax so much with their existing model before it breaks. So maybe they need to add on to that by buying into that model. I think it will be fascinating to see. I do think that it’s rewarding to see them pivoting and recognizing the value of the fiduciary oriented independent RA space, because there were years where we were just simply, we were laughed at. Why would you ever go independent? It’s the most ridiculous thing in the world, and we heard this time and again. So to go from fringe to now mainstream for all the right reasons, which is what clearly independence is, is mainstream, is rewarding. And it isn’t a Schwab thing. It isn’t a Tim thing.
This is a testament to the literally thousands of advisors… Longterm adopters, new entrance into the market, that recognize this is the model that gives them the most choice of control and allows them to service their clients the best. It is a testament to their commitment in their communities to be able to pick up the mantle, take the risks that go into going independent, and to make this model stick. They’re the ones that are carrying the flag. We just get the luxury of being associated with them, and we value that partnership enormously. But at the end of the day, we are simply servicing advisors who are telling us what we need to be so that they could be better for their clients. And that’s an incredibly powerful motivator for us at Schwab, but it’s also incredibly rewarding because when you think about the motivation, it’s not about, “Hey, you need to help me drive more revenue.” No, it’s how do you drive better value and service and control in the client relationship? That’s what we’re about, and so it’s exciting to see actually and rewarding.
Ryan:
What are some of the potential risks or things that the industry needs to be paying attention to that may slow down the pace of development that we’ve had in the last five years?
Tim Oden:
Oh boy. Well, there’s always more out there, right? And so if you think about the move… How far do some of the established participants move to support independent advisors? Do they create semi-independent advisor platforms that give advisors the perception of being independents, when actually they’re not independent? I think that’s a potential… We call those way stations. They’re intermediary steps to full independence. They may be attractive to somebody that maybe is a little bit nervous about understanding how to make the move to full independence. I think those will continue to be, and have been for awhile, they will continue to be issues for the industry to wrestle with.
I think there will continue to be this discussion that the wealth management industry will have around regulation. And you get a lot of arguments, appropriate arguments, the right arguments, around how to keep informed, how to be transparent, how to push more transparency and disclosure into consumers so that they can make choices. Not that one model is always going to be better than the other, but we can’t argue about putting information and disclosure in front of clients in a way that they can understand. Not in industry speak, but in ways that a consumer can understand and make an intelligent decision for their best interests. We have to make sure that we are all coming together and sharing in this responsibility that advocates for that transparency, that fiduciary orientation. It should always be about the client first.
So I think that’s going to be a potential issue for the industry. Whether or not that actually prevents people from moving to independents, I don’t know. I do know that I hear from some clients who are moving to independents now that say they simply like the transparency and they like the fiduciary orientation, and we refer to those people who are acting as an independent, within a captive model, they simply are making a move to get something that is more encouraging and empowering for the way they were communicating with their clients.
I think there’s going to be more and more opportunity for us to educate the next generation, and I think that that is ultimately going to be a differentiator for how many people can get into this space. Right now, we don’t see a lot of independent advisor versus independent advisor competition. There is still model competition. So the independence versus for example, a captive model, we still see that as being the common competitor. At some point, are there so many advisors where that changes? Maybe. And that could be a limitation.
Ryan:
Do you ever feel that maybe the FinTech companies, because they’re valued so highly relative to an RIA or broker dealer, could potentially become competitors of wealth management platforms, or even custodians for that matter? Do you guys have any thoughts that that might play out in the next five years?
Tim Oden:
Yeah, it’s interesting. I will tell you that… Could they be a competitor? Sure. Competition’s good. And I think the next efficient client-facing model that allows people to interact and consume both services in a way that they value digitally is always going to be a formidable competitor. That’s the reason we spend so much time and energy trying to develop our technology and listen hard to advisors and clients about what they need from us, so that we can be in that fight and be providing that value. But do I think there are going to be new entrance into the space? Absolutely. I think there will be. Will they be formidable because they have a technology bias? Absolutely.
How far will they go? Will they get into the custody? Well, maybe. I think custody though, custody is certainly a scale business. Be careful what you ask for. Custody’s hard. Providing a front end that allows people to distribute information and to be able to interact with it is one thing, custody is much harder than that. And so I think that’s going to be an interesting play.
I do think that it will be interesting to see… As I mentioned earlier, I think the genie’s out of the bottle, as it relates to digital client experiences. That’s going to become the norm. But I think we eventually will be able to get back to in person meetings. When that happens, there is absolutely a place for that. There’s a place for us to be able to connect and to entrench the trust you’ve placed in me digitally through an in person meeting. And I don’t know what form that will take, Ryan. I don’t know, but there will be a place for that.
And I think those firms that are exclusively digital are going to be limited because they’re not going to be able to emphasize that as much. Amazon does great in a digital marketplace, but there’s something different about the experience of consuming at a local shop and interacting with the local store owner, that Amazon cannot replicate. So when you think about that in terms of finserv, I think there’s an analogy there that makes sense, which is somewhere there’s going to be a different experience that people will choose. Not all, but many people will choose, “I want digital, but I also want you to be there for these certain circumstances to add that physical presence.” And I think that’s going to be interesting to see. I think some of the people that could potentially enter in on just the technology front are going to struggle to figure out how to make that work, but it is going to be fascinating to watch them move that direction.
Ryan:
And Tim, you lead a large organization. What kind of leadership lessons have you gathered from the last few months, best practices that you guys have rolled out for your business development teams and marketing departments?
Tim Oden:
Yeah, that’s a good question. I think that one of the biggest ones that struck me, and I’ve increased the frequency of my communications, but I’ve made them smaller. Our people are distant and from time to time they’re used to being in physical connection with other people. And so they’re struggling. And so I’m using digital communication to be able to create or try to create as best I can, a human connection.
And so something that I value is getting on a phone with our national Salesforce and talking to them, and sometimes it’s just being silly. Sometimes it’s talking about current events, but it’s just interacting with them. And it’s not about here’s our goals today, this is where we’re at, and here’s a deck, and let me show you a graph. It’s let’s just talk. Let’s just create that piece of humanity, that isn’t about execution, it’s about relationship, and let’s use the digital to enable us to be able to do that.
So I think the single biggest leadership lesson that I’ve learned, and I’m still learning, is how do I convey to a national organization that what they’re doing matters and that we’re all into this together. It sounds so trite. Everybody’s saying we’re all into this… We are, and we’re all trying to figure it out. And that I’m as interested in what you’ve got going on for this weekend with your family, as I am about what your latest sales endeavor looks like. And so my communications have rotated to that human side, and maybe shame on me for not getting there sooner. But what I’m finding is is that that allows me to connect and I give, but I get back so much more and shame on me for not getting there sooner.
Ryan:
Yeah. I’ve noticed on social media, you guys have been posting some pretty awesome, family stories of your business development officers and stuff, and love reading that and it definitely softens the environment that we’re in because everyone else has gone through the same thing.
Well, what are some silver linings in the industry and maybe in the US economy that you see? Because you sit at a very interesting seat. You have a huge visibility into the wealth management landscape. What do you…
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Ryan:
… Huge visibility into the wealth management landscape. What do you think is going to be the silver lining?
Tim Oden:
Well, let’s first call out the fact that there is so much opportunity for us as a society and specifically us within financial services, wealth management, to stop dragging our feet and to make our industry and our roles more inclusive. How do we do that? And it’s not obvious. How do we do that in a meaningful, sustainable way? And so the silver lining here is listen, out of all the things that are going on, let’s make sure that we understand the message and are working with those in our community to make this a place that anybody could see as a viable career. And so I think that’s a silver lining and I hope we get to that level and continue to emphasize the constructive aspects of that conversation and that that doesn’t get lost in a lot of the challenges that we’re seeing in some of the cities. I want that to survive. I think that’s a silver lining.
The other one is that, think about, and this is going to get a little bit into the numbers a little bit, but advisors over the last five years have increased the ratings that they are given for the consumer experience, the client experience. While at the same time, thanks to Lisa again for this data, over that five years, the production on a per employee basis for the RA community has improved by over 12.5%. And so what the advisor community has done, has used technology, that’s been the enabler, has used technology to simultaneously improve their margins, which allows them to keep costs down to their clients, that allows them to be able to expand their services to their clients, to be able to pay for more value to their employees, to be larger community activists so that they can be in the community donating time and money and efforts.
All of those positives, they’ve been able to drive down their cost of production while at the same time, improving the way they are perceived from a client experience standpoint. I think that’s just starting to emerge. I think that’s going to get so much better. Both of those numbers are going to get better in the next five years, because we’re going to get better at what we’re doing right now, right? We’re going to get better at you and I talking in digital format and distributing a perspective. We’re all going to see that as the norm. It doesn’t matter your age or your socioeconomic background, your education, you’re going to get better at this, and it’s going to become the norm. As long as we use the efficiencies that are inherent with that model to reinvest in the experience and the communities we serve, that’s a huge silver lining. And how exciting is that?
Schwab just had a virtual volunteer day. The company gives every Schwab employee a number of hours where they are paid to go out and volunteer their time every year. We do employee matches around you put money into a charity, they’ll match it, so that we can amplify our community involvement. Well, it’s hard to do in this environment, because you can’t get out and spend the time face to face in many of the charities and the services that we value. And so we did it virtually. I think what you’re going to see is more and more people realize is that I don’t have to get in my car and drive necessarily to make a difference in the communities I serve. And technology will enable me to do that. And so there’s so much more we can do than we were able to do 10, 15, 20, 30 years ago.
It’s exciting. And I will say this, something that I told my team recently, which is often you don’t realize you’re in a point of inflection until you have the benefit of hindsight. Certainly along my career at Schwab and in this industry, there are times when everybody says, “Wow, it must’ve been really interesting when you realize you’re in a point of reflection around this and this and this.” And I said, “You know what? We didn’t know we were in it when we did it. It wasn’t until we had the benefit of hindsight to realize how much of an inflection point that was.” Maybe it’s experience, maybe it’s age, Ryan. Maybe it’s just I’ve got a different perspective.
We are in that golden age of inflection right now. And all of it points to a better environment going forward than we’ve had in the past. And that’s exciting. That’s motivating, even for an old dog like me, that is gratifying and gets me up everyday in a way. And it means so much to me to see that we have made those changes. I’m excited to see how we all work on it together and how we produce a better outcome.
Ryan:
Tim, last question for you. What, if any books you’re reading right now to keep your perspective sharp and positive? Any recommendations for the viewers?
Tim Oden:
Yeah. Leadership Dichotomy, highly recommended. I read it, I’m reading it again, because there’s so much in there. You may appreciate this, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. I’m a big fan. I come from a military family and so military service is very important to me and us as a company, which I’m proud to say. They equate lessons learned from the military into life lessons, but also lessons for those of us that are leading in a business environment. And I find that to be interesting. They do a very, very good job of equating that. Now, the outcomes are obviously different, right? The outcomes of a failed leadership in a battlefield environment is very different than what I have to do on a daily basis. So I would never suggest to you that those are the same. What I will say is, is that I can learn from their experience. And that matters to me. That’s an interesting book.
And then there’s another book, you’re going to laugh at this one, it’s called, As You Wish, it’s written by a star for one of my favorite movies, The Princess Bride. And it tells the behind the scenes of filming that movie and what the actors were thinking. And so that’s when I really need to escape. I read that one and it’s entertaining.
Ryan:
Oh, that’s awesome. Well, Tim, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate your experience and your insights in the industry, but most importantly, your leadership. So thank you, sir.
Tim Oden:
Appreciate it, Ryan. Thanks again for the invitation and the opportunity to be able to spend time with you. It’s enjoyable.
Ryan:
Thank you very much. Thanks for watching Non-Beta Alpha. And before we go, please remember to like and subscribe on Apple podcasts or our YouTube channel. This is Non-Beta Alpha, and now you know.
Speaker 1:
(singing).
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