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Deciphering the Onboarding Process: A Tutorial for New and Existing Clients

Ryan Guth

Ryan Guth
Founder & CEO

Whether you’ve previously worked with us at our former place of business or are new to Guth Financial, chances are you have some questions about the process that accompanies moving your assets from one company to another. 

We admit it! The entire process can be a bit confusing!. Whenever your hard-earned money is involved, not being absolutely sure where it is at any given time can be nerve-wracking. But we assure you that we know exactly where your funds are and where they’re going! Nevertheless, we want to help YOU decipher the onboarding process so that you continue to have peace of mind during the switch. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

  1. If you haven’t already, you will be receiving an Account Verification Letter from Charles Schwab. You should be on the lookout for one letter for each account that you held with your previous firm, unless we’ve done some consolidation. This letter will include an eight-digit number assigned to your new Charles Schwab account.
  2. Once you have those letters, you can open an online account with Schwab and register for paperless communications. You will need your account numbers to do this. You can get those numbers:
    1. From the previously mentioned verification letters (Note: You may receive an email about going paperless before you get your verification letters. In that case, see below or simply wait for the letters.)
    2. By calling Cat at our office.
  3. When accounts move from one institution to another, you may not be able to view your asset balances immediately. Clients can get nervous when they log onto Charles Schwab and see zeros instead of their actual balances for each account. But don’t worry! It takes at least a few days for those numbers to appear and could take a little longer when proprietary investments were held at your previous firm. In some cases, the majority of the account will arrive first, and the cash from the previously held proprietary assets will come a-week-or-so later. 
  4. Similarly, you may get a letter from Schwab saying that some of your assets will not transfer. Don’t panic! They will indeed transfer but it may involve your previous firm having to liquidate something, after which they will send the cash over to Schwab (see above). We’re well aware of all of these processes and are always diligent about protecting your assets. If there were tax implications for these liquidations, we would have discussed them with you before processing the transfer.
  5. If you receive communication entitled trade-related documents or trade confirmations, that’s fine. That means there’s been activity in your accounts. What should be happening is indeed happening! 
  6. If you have stocks with dividends, it’s important to know that fractional shares do not transfer. They will be sold, and because your accounts with your previous firm stay connected to your Charles Schwab accounts for 6 months, the proceeds will pass all the way through to the new account.

Making the most of your online access

While all of these things are taking place, mostly “behind the scenes”, you can take advantage of all the perks of online access to your new accounts. Now you can:

  • Add beneficiaries to each of your accounts. Simply log in, click “Service” on the top bar, and find “beneficiaries” under the My Profile tab.  
  • Add a trusted contact. A trusted contact is someone who can check on you if we have trouble locating you. It provides us with a resource to contact if we suspect that you may be the target of financial exploitation or we have other concerns about your well-being. You’ll find it in the same place you found “add beneficiaries”. Here’s a video tutorial that explains both the addition of beneficiaries and trusted contacts: How to add a trusted contact or a beneficiary | Charles Schwab
  • Add an authorized viewer to your accounts. This “View Only” role allows another person (Authorized Viewer) access to account information without the ability to place trades, move money, or change account settings. The Authorized Viewer can review, print, download, and save up to 10 years of historical account information, including but not limited to tax information, balances, positions, statements, and other non-public personally identifiable information such as your Social Security number and mailing address. 

Please note that you cannot assign Power of Attorney (POA) online but will need to do that with an old-fashioned form, which we can provide for you at your request. 

Your Power of Attorney (POA) is an important document. We cannot stress this enough!  As the principal (account holder), you will be giving the person whom you choose (your Agent) authority to spend your money and sell or dispose of your property during your lifetime without informing you. You do not lose your authority to act even though you have given your Agent similar authority. When your Agent exercises this authority, he or she must act according to any instructions you have provided or, where there are no specific instructions, in your best interest. You can revoke or terminate your Power of Attorney at any time for any reason as long as you are of sound mind. If you are no longer of sound mind, a court can remove an Agent for acting improperly. Please note: POA documents must be signed in front of a Notary Public. 

It’s also important to note that POA’s have authorized viewership, so if you opt for a POA you can skip assigning your Agent “view only” status (see the last bullet above).

Remember, the likelihood that you will need another person to make financial and decisions for you increases as you get older so prompt attention to this is essential.

If you have further questions about assigning Power of Attorney, please call our office for more information or clarification. Your attorney may wish to weigh in on this matter as well. 

Lastly, you will occasionally see trades in your account and receive trade confirmations. This is usually due to several reasons.

  1. We like to keep a percent or two in cash (this is where we draw your advisory expense).
  2. If you take withdrawals or distributions from your accounts, we need to free up cash on occasion to be sure your bank transfer goes through in a timely manner. 
  3. We’re making a trade in an effort to keep your account in balance and in line with your tolerance for risk. 

At Guth Financial, we are always available to answer questions about your transition from one firm to another or about any of your financial needs. Simply call during business hours at 505-404-9970 or contact us at


Securities offered through SCF Securities, Inc. • Member FINRA/SIPC • Investment advisory services offered through SCF Investment Advisors Inc. • 155 E. Shaw Ave., Suite 102, Fresno, CA 93710 • 800.955.2517 • 559.456.6109 FAX. • Atria Wealth Solutions, Inc. (“Atria”) is not a registered broker-dealer or Registered Investment Advisor and does not provide investment advice. SCF and SCF Investment Advisors, Inc. are subsidiaries of Atria. SCF, Atria, Charles Schwab, and Guth Financial are independently owned and operated.

Required Disclosures. Note The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Investing involves risk including possible loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. To determine what appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing.

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