Since the unfortunate Equifax breach in September, we’ve received many inquiries about how Vista protects client assets.

We hear you.

A couple months ago, we sent you information on how to protect your identity.

In this post, we explain how Charles Schwab and Vista keep your money safe—and how you can help.

How Schwab Protects Your Assets

If you think of asset protection as a home security system, Charles Schwab would be the central control panel.

Schwab has multiple “checkpoints”—including some required by law—to keep your assets safe:

  • First and foremost, Schwab covers 100% of any losses in any of your Schwab accounts due to unauthorized activity—and they stand by this.
  • Through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Customer Protection Rule, stocks and bonds that are fully paid for are protected against creditor claims in the unlikely event of broker-dealer insolvency.
  • If a firm fails financially, the nonprofit Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) typically asks a federal court to appoint a trustee to liquidate the firm and protect its customers.
  • Schwab’s coverage with Lloyd’s of London and other London insurers, combined with SIPC coverage, provides protection of securities and cash up to an aggregate of $600 million.

In addition, Schwab’s information security includes advanced encryption technology, multilayered protections against unauthorized account activity, and extended validation certificates to ensure you are accessing their authentic site, and not a “spoof” site.

Schwab continuously monitors systems and works collaboratively with government agencies, law enforcement and other financial services firms to address potential threats.

Click here for more information about Schwab security.

How Vista Protects Your Assets

Advanced home security systems offer additional features such as motion sensors, glass-break detectors and automated home lighting to provide extra protection against loss.

Similarly, we believe that a multilayered approach offers the best portfolio protection around.

In addition to what Schwab is doing to protect your assets, Vista is:

  • Monitoring your Schwab accounts daily for any unauthorized or unusual activity.
  • Protecting your funds from a security breach with a Lloyd’s of London cybersecurity policy.
  • Leveraging a third party to constantly monitor our systems for any vulnerability.
  • Safely sharing communications and personal information with you via a secure portal.

How You Can Protect Your Assets

Even with great security systems, smart homeowners cultivate good habits. They lock their doors when they’re away, set lights on timers and put mail on vacation hold.

You can enhance the asset protection measures that Schwab and Vista already have in place by doing the following:

Set up two-factor authentication. Schwab’s two-factor authentication generates a unique security code every 30 seconds on your mobile device or physical token, adding a dynamic credential component to your existing login ID and password.

Use a dedicated computer. To protect against malware, buy an inexpensive computer to use exclusively for accessing bank and brokerage accounts and other sensitive financial information. This may seem extreme, but it could be your best investment ever.

Be cautious when using public computers. If you do use one, clear the browser history and cookies before you leave. Only use wireless networks you trust or that are protected. Don’t accept software updates when connected to public Wi-Fi.

Be strategic with passwords. Don’t use personal information such as your birthday as part of your login ID, advises Schwab. Create a unique password for each financial institution you do business with and change it every six months.

Open attachments with caution. Do not open email attachments from an unknown or suspicious source. If you don’t know the sender, do not open or download any files or email attachments.
In short, be watchful. For the greatest peace of mind, stay informed about security measures and be an active participant in protecting your assets. A little attention goes a long way.