Frequently Asked Questions
- How is my portfolio managed?
An automated system monitors your portfolio closely—this includes:
• Rebalancing as needed: Your portfolio won’t trade every day, however we perform daily check-ins. When an asset class exceeds its allocated portion in your portfolio, the excess ETF shares are sold, and the proceeds are used to buy positions that have fallen below their target percentage; this keeps your portfolio consistent with your Investor Profile.
• Professional oversight: Periodic evaluations are performed to ensure that your asset allocation represents the right mix of risk and return. The ETFs included in Schwab Intelligent Portfolios are also evaluated to ensure that they continue to meet the stringent selection criteria.
• Tax-loss harvesting: If you have an account with $50,000 or more in assets, and you've elected to automate tax-loss harvesting, your account will be tracked daily for opportunities to offset capital gains by strategically realizing losses.
- What is rebalancing?
Every portfolio has a target asset allocation—a combination of stocks, bonds, commodities and cash determined by the investor's stated goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. Over time, however, contributions/withdrawals, gains, and losses cause your portfolio to stray from the original target and become unbalanced.
The solution is rebalancing—the act of periodically buying or selling assets to restore your portfolio to its original target allocations. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios automatically rebalances accounts thanks to an algorithm that adjusts your account when an asset class shifts above or below its target range.
- When does my account rebalance?
The primary purpose of rebalancing is to keep your portfolio's asset allocation consistent with your targeted level of risk as markets fluctuate over time. The recommended allocation for your portfolio is based on your goal, time horizon, and risk profile.
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios are monitored and automatically rebalanced as needed to keep the allocation consistent with the client’s risk profile as markets fluctuate over time. Portfolio allocations are not adjusted tactically based on short-term views about the markets. In a normal environment, rebalancing happens a few times per year; during more volatile times, don’t be surprised if this number increases.
- Why is my account trading so much?
Automatic rebalancing is designed to keep your portfolio’s asset allocation consistent over time so that it stays aligned with your intended risk level. When markets are calm, your portfolio may trade infrequently. But when markets are volatile, a portfolio can see multiple rebalancing trades in a short timeframe.
Also, clients with taxable accounts over $50,000 can enroll in tax-loss harvesting to help offset capital gains — up to $3,000 of ordinary income, if your losses exceed your gains for the year. During the recent turbulence, tax-loss harvesting trades also surged. Remember that these trades are a silver lining to your investment losses.
- What is tax-loss harvesting?
Tax-loss harvesting can help offset capital gains and lower your taxable income by automatically selling an ETF that has fallen enough below the price you paid for it and replacing it with an alternate ETF in the same asset class to keep your portfolio's allocation consistent.
Periods of elevated market volatility highlight the potential benefit of tax-loss harvesting as the number of these trades have historically surged when markets turn turbulent. The goal of the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios algorithm is to maintain a portfolio that closely tracks the investor's strategic asset allocation and captures tax-deductible losses while generally preventing wash sales in your account. As it’s a complicated and time-consuming process, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios has automated this process.
- What is the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Sweep Program (Sweep Program)?
The Sweep Program is a feature that allows for the cash allocation in your Schwab Intelligent Portfolios account to earn interest by being "swept" to a FDIC-insured deposit account at Schwab Bank. Cash earns interest at a rate that is determined by taking the greater of the rate determined by reference to a third party index for retail deposits at the $100,000 level based on a survey as calculated by RateWatch; or (ii) the rate paid on cash balances of $1,000,000 or more in Schwab's bank sweep program for brokerage accounts. See Current Interest Rates to see the rate applied to Cash Balances.
You can view the cash allocation on your portfolio dashboard at Intelligent.Schwab.com. You can withdraw cash from your Schwab Intelligent Portfolios account at any time by logging in to your account and requesting a transfer.
- What is the wash sale rule, and what does this mean for my account?
For taxable accounts, the wash sale rule is a sale, and then repurchase of the same security over a 30-day period which disallows the loss for tax deduction purposes. During times of market volatility, trading increases both for account rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting purposes. Because of this, when clients adjust their risk after a trading event has occurred, there could be certain securities within their portfolio that do not trade immediately in order to comply with this tax code. However, the trade instruction remains in the account and is executed as soon as possible.
Watch out for Wash Sales
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Any time you have questions, you can get in touch with a Schwab professional.