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SMU Employees

PCRA: Schwab's Personal Choice Retirement Account Managed By The Gardner Group

What is it?

A Schwab PCRA is a self-directed brokerage account (SDBA) that resides within various retirement plans, such as the SMU 403(b). In addition to the choices typically offered by a university or company play, PCRA lets you invest in a much wider range of investments. Additionally, you can hire The Gardner Group to be your advisor to help you with rebalancing opportunities and take advantage of our fund selection, institutional pricing with Schwab, and asset allocation.

With a Schwab Personal Choice Retirement Account® (PCRA), you can invest in SMU's retirement plan with the freedom of a brokerage account. SMU is happy to offer this investment option because it will allow investors to build and customize their portfolio using thousands of mutual funds that are not available under the core SMU Retirement Plan fund lineup. 

Who might benefit from a PCRA advised by The Gardner Group?

 A PCRA might be appropriate for investors who:

  • Are seeking a wider range of investments.
  • People looking to work with a Certified Financial Planner for help in addressing their risk tolerance and future cash flow needs.
  • Are comfortable working with The Gardner Group to provide investment knowledge and guidance in their asset allocation decisions, and are looking for a additional comprehensive financial planning to address areas in cash management, estate planning, and risk management

How it works:

First you open your PCRA online by CLICKING HERE. Upon completing the online application, please print out the application and forward it to The Gardner Group. Then log into your SMU 403(b) by CLICKING HERE, simply transfer 100% of your account holdings from your retirement plan into your Personal Choice under the MANAGE tab, Fund Transfer section.

Second step is changing your Future Contributions under the MANAGE tab to 100% Personal Choice.

The last step is to complete an advisory agreement with The Gardner Group.

Your retirement plan's investment selection for PCRA includes mutual funds as available investments.

Benefits of a PCRA

A PCRA may be able to help you meet your retirement investment objectives by providing additional mutual fund choices and exposure to additional asset classes.

Flexibility to invest your way with more investment choices.

Select from thousands of investments available through Schwab. 

Additionally, clients of The Gardner Group have access to our proprietary asset allocation models, fund selections, and the benefits of full financial planning.

Other highlights of the SMU 403(b) plan are:

  • If you are a full-time regular employee (35 hours per week) and at least age 36, you are required to contribute 5% of your pay each pay period.
  • When you make a change to your voluntary contribution amount, keep in mind that your voluntary contribution is in addition to your 5% mandatory contribution.
  • If you are a regular employee* contributing at least 5%, either on a voluntary or mandatory
    basis, SMU will make an 8% matching contribution (if you are age 40 or younger) or a 10% matching contribution (if you are age 41 or older) to your account.

SMU matching contributions apply to the first 5% you contribute on a pretax basis. After-tax
Roth contributions are not matched by SMU. Contributions in excess of 5% are not eligible for SMU matching contributions.

* Employees working less than 20 hours per week, Postdoctoral Fellows, and temporary employees are not eligible for SMU matching contributions

Take the next step.

You can open your PCRA online.

Open your PCRA online at https://www.schwabpcra.com/public/PCRAPublicLogin.aspx or call 888-393-7272

Plan Name: Southern Methodist University Ret Plan

Retirement Plan ID Number: TT06944401

Plan Password: SCHWAB

Request a prospectus by calling 888-393-7272.


The Gardner Group is a Registered Investment Advisor, and not an employee of Southern Methodist University, nor are they officially endorsed by any university.