Charles Schwab vs. Facet: what’s the difference?

1 min readLast updated June 6, 2024by Unbiased team

Explore the differences between Charles Schwab and Facet Wealth to discover which financial advisory service best aligns with your investment goals.

Summary 

  • Schwab emphasizes broad market exposure and low-cost investing across various financial products. 

  • Facet's strength lies in its personalized, holistic financial planning approach. 

  • Schwab's fee structure includes competitive rates for online trading and personalized services. 

  • Facet's flat-rate annual fees offer accessibility without minimum investment requirements. 

Facet vs. Schwab: what’s the difference? 

Charles Schwab is a well-established financial giant that offers a broad spectrum of financial services, from investment management to retirement planning. Founded in 1971, Schwab has grown to become one of the most trusted names in the industry, catering to both individual investors and institutions. 

Facet Wealth, a Baltimore-based firm founded in 2016, focuses on providing personalized, holistic financial services online. Facet financial advisors offer tailored advice primarily to middle-class investors, leveraging technology to make professional financial planning more accessible. 

What are Charles Schwab and Facet’s specific investment strategies? 

Charles Schwab is known for its diverse investment strategies. It offers a range of products, including mutual funds, ETFs, and individual stocks, guided by the expertise of a Charles Schwab financial advisor. The firm’s investment philosophy emphasizes broad market exposure and low-cost investing, with a robust trading platform for more active investors. 

Facet Wealth, on the other hand, focuses on personalized financial planning. Each client is assigned a dedicated Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), ensuring tailored advice that aligns with individual goals. Facet financial services are designed to cater to both short-term needs and long-term financial planning, making it ideal for investors seeking comprehensive, customized strategies.  

What fees can I expect from Charles Schwab and Facet? 

Charles Schwab fees and commissions are competitive. While online trading is free, other investment types come with associated costs. These include fees for options and futures trading, bond trades, and mutual funds, ranging from $0 to $49.95 per trade. Additionally, broker-assisted trades incur a service fee per transaction of $25. Schwab also utilizes a payment for order flow system, and margin rates vary based on the loan amount. 

Facet's fees are flat-rate and annual, ranging from $2,400 to $8,000, depending on the services required. This structure is based on each Certified Financial Planner (CFP)’s retainer fees, which can vary. Additionally, there is a $250 enrollment charge for new clients. However, previous clients have noted that the fee structure can be opaque and challenging to understand without experience. 

Is Schwab or Facet better? 

Both Schwab and Facet have their strengths and weaknesses, which we’ll explore below. 

Pros of Schwab  

  • Comprehensive customer support that offers various avenues for assistance.  

  • A robust trading platform that empowers clients with extensive market research and insights to make informed decisions.  

  • Highly personalized services tailored to individual client needs. 

Cons of Schwab  

  • There is no cryptocurrency trading advice, so this limits clients' options for this asset class. The margin rates are considered average within the industry. 

  • It lacks a paper trading platform, which may hinder strategy testing opportunities.  

Pros of Facet 

  • Offers continuous access to a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) for every client. 

  • Personalized and ongoing financial advice. 

  • An absence of minimum investment requirements. 

Cons of Facet 

  • Those with smaller portfolios may face higher fees. 

  • The fee limits and structures are potentially limiting accessibility for some investors. 

  • The fee structure may appear complex and opaque to some clients.  

Facet or Schwab: which should I choose? 

Ultimately, the choice between Facet and Schwab comes down to your specific circumstances, goals, and requirements. In addition to fees, investment strategy, and various pros and cons, here are some other questions to consider when choosing between Schwab and Facet. 

How do Facet and Schwab remain competitive and adapt to changing market conditions? 

With its all-online service model, Facet uses contemporary communication tools to maintain strong client relationships. By offering virtual financial planning sessions and sophisticated financial planning software, Facet ensures clients receive personalized, high-quality advice regardless of location.  

Schwab invests heavily in technology to enhance its customer experience. The firm offers a customizable online platform and a user-friendly mobile app. Schwab’s commitment to low-cost investing and extensive product lineup helps it attract and retain clients. 

Which platform provides better customer service and support? 

Charles Schwab's customer service has a reputation for excellence. Phone support is available 24/7. The firm also offers in-person support with a Charles Schwab financial services representative at its numerous branch locations, providing practical and information-based assistance. 

Facet customer service is highly personalized, with each client receiving continuous, individualized attention from a dedicated CFP®. Facet financial advising is a high-touch service model that ensures clients get proactive and responsive support tailored to their unique financial situations. 

Can I access my Schwab or Facet accounts through their websites and mobile apps? 

Schwab provides a comprehensive website and mobile app that allows clients to manage investments, view performance, and conduct transactions. The platform includes a range of tools and resources to help investors make informed decisions. 

Facet financial services offers a user-friendly online portal where clients can access their financial plans, schedule meetings with their advisors, and track their progress. Although Facet doesn’t focus on trading capabilities, its platform emphasizes comprehensive financial planning and advice. 

Get expert financial advice 

Both Charles Schwab and Facet Wealth offer valuable services tailored to different types of investors. Your choice will depend on your individual financial goals, preferences for customer support, and the level of personalization you desire in your financial planning. Whether you opt for Schwab’s extensive product range and in-person support or Facet’s personalized online financial advising, both firms stand ready to help you navigate your financial journey. 

Let Unbiased connect you with a professional SEC-regulated financial advisor to ensure you make well-informed decisions and achieve your long-term financial objectives. 

Writers

Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.