Introduction to submitting client documents

Introduction to submitting client documents

To open and maintain client accounts at Schwab, advisors can use digital tools available on Schwab Advisor Center®, or they can submit Schwab forms, applications, and supporting documents to Schwab via one of our acceptable channels. Digital tools leverage eAuthorization; for paper/PDF forms, submission channels include DocuSign®, Service Requests (secure upload on Schwab Advisor Center), and mail.

To securely transmit forms signed pen-to-paper, advisors will need to scan and upload via the Service Requests secure upload tool on Schwab Advisor Center. For additional details, see How to submit and use Service Requests.

Note: Schwab no longer accepts free-form correspondence. All instructions must be submitted on the appropriate form.

Key details and information related to submitting documents to Schwab:

Processing requirements
To avoid processing delays, apply these requirements to all applicable documents:

Account number/signatures    

  • Include the client's account number on all checks, stock certificates, and account transfer forms.*
  • A fresh, new signature and initials are required for each signature section or initial section on each Schwab form submitted. Duplicate signatures via scanned copies, template/images of signatures, or reusing client signature pages across multiple Schwab forms is not acceptable. See Client signature requirements and read each Schwab form for specific signing requirements.
  • Scanned versions of original transfer forms are required to initiate a non-automated customer account transfer (Top Firms for ACAT and Non-ACAT Transfers).
  • All signatures must be visible and in the appropriate signature or initial sections as indicated on the form (i.e., do not cover signatures with stamps or stickers or sign outside of designated areas).

*Checks or stock certificates mailed to Schwab without an account number must include a copy of the first page of the account application or the Check or Stock Certificate Coversheet form.

Submission options
Schwab offers multiple ways to submit documentation for review or processing. The digital options are available free of charge to all investment advisors and their firms; mailing forms to Schwab requires appropriate postage or carrier/packaging fees.

Submission options offer different levels of security, and should be chosen based on the specific request and the information contained within the documents.

  • Digital onboarding and digital actions on Schwab Advisor Center
  • Description: Secure digital tools for opening and funding client accounts and performing account maintenance (i.e., account open, ACAT transfer of account, establish ACH profile, establish standing instructions, update address, update beneficiaries, and more)
  • When to use: Use Schwab digital tools as a primary method to open and fund multiple account types and account features, and send to a client(s) to open up to 20 accounts in one workflow. Separately, we have some standalone digital tools for performing maintenance on existing accounts. Since not all account types and account features are eligible through digital onboarding, using PDF forms may be required. 

    Note: Clients need access to a computer or smart device as well as login credentials to Schwab Alliance, or they will be prompted to create Schwab Alliance credentials to complete the approval process.
     
  • Scanning: Scan and submit documents associated to a single account.

DocuSign through Schwab Advisor Center

  • Description: Offered at no charge to advisors, advisors can leverage this secure online feature to send most Schwab documents and your Advisory documents for clients to review and sign. Advisors have the option for clients to use secure Schwab Alliance credentials to access and sign, or use a dual verification method through DocuSign requiring both knowledge-based authentication (KBA) and SMS text message authentication.
  • When to use: Schwab recommends using fully digital onboarding, move money and eAuthorization, and digital account maintenance methods available on our site as primary tools. Some processes have not yet been converted to fully digital workflows; in those cases, Schwab recommends leveraging DocuSign. For more information, see Articles about DocuSign.
  • Sequencing of forms: In order to efficiently serve you and your clients, when bundling multiple new accounts into a single envelope, ensure the leading document is always a new account application followed by the supporting documents for that account.  For an example, click here.

Service Requests

  • Description: A secure online feature that allows advisors to transmit information to their service teams. Advisors can access Service Requests in Schwab Advisor Center from the Accounts tab.
  • When to use: Use service requests for eligible or digitally signed forms that require processing. Forms submitted through a service request go directly into Schwab's workflow.
  • Scanning: Scan and submit documents associated to a single account.

Mail 

  • Description: Use U.S. Postal Service or other overnight delivery services to mail paperwork to Schwab, if unable to submit via service requests. For details, see the Additional features and details section.
  • When to use: Standard postal and overnight delivery terms of use rules apply.*

* Mailing addresses vary. For current information, contact your service team.

Schwab accepts many forms electronically. However, some forms must be mailed to Schwab or can only be submitted via certain channels. See the table below for details.

Paper forms

Forms listed below are not accepted via electronic submission methods. Submit the original hardcopies to Schwab. Contact your service team with questions about forms that are not listed.

FormDetails
Transfer Your Account to SchwabFor transfers from non-ACAT firms, digital tools and DocuSign are not permitted. (Transfers from ACAT firms are permitted to use digital tools and DocuSign). Non-ACAT firms require pen-to-paper client signed forms. Advisors should scan the client signed forms and upload via Service Request on Schwab Advisor Center. Non-ACAT transfers are typically transfers from banks, trusts companies, credit unions, insurance companies and mutual fund companies. For more information, see Top Firms for ACAT and Non-ACAT Transfers.
Affidavit of Domicile

May be accepted via scanned copy and uploaded via Service Request, unless survivor options need to be processed or in some circumstances, originals may be required to be mailed to Schwab.

Not acceptable via DocuSign.

Irrevocable Stock or Bond PowerOriginals are required to be mailed to Schwab or dropped off at a Schwab branch. Mailing instructions are on the bottom of the form.
Third-Party Release FormOriginals are required to be mailed to Schwab or dropped off at a Schwab branch.
Pledged Asset AgreementScanned copies are typically acceptable by uploading via Service Request in Schwab Advisor Center. Some lenders require or request original versions to be signed and returned. If so, mail the physical copies to Schwab for processing.

Review a side-by-side comparison of current document submission methods.

Secure options
The following options allow advisors and clients to send or receive nonpublic or sensitive information to Schwab.

 SecureLimitsProtocolAccess requirements
Digital tools on Schwab Advisor CenterYes
  • Up to 20 accounts in one envelope
  • Includes Advisor documents
  • Maximum 50 digital items total, including accounts and features such as ACH profiles setup and transfer of account
     
Secure; proprietary digital platformAdvisors need Schwab Advisor Center login; clients must use Schwab Alliance login or receive an email then create Schwab Alliance credentials as part of the approval process
DocuSignYes28MB maximum

Recommended size limitation before sending to clients for signature to stay within 30MB Schwab limit
DocuSign account secure connection to SchwabAdvisors need Schwab Advisor Center login; clients must use Schwab Alliance login to sign or receive an email then use KBA and SMS together for identity verification through DocuSign
Service requestYes
  • Up to ten documents
  • 30MB total
Simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP)Schwab Advisor Center login
MailYesNoneNoneStandard postal and overnight delivery terms of use rules apply

How to use DocuSign®
How to submit and use Service Requests
Introduction to digital onboarding and account maintenance eAuthorization
 

For online forms and downloadable PDFs, go to the forms library in Schwab Advisor Center.

For help finding your Service team, go to Find your team.