Schwab Announces Papers for Independent Advisers

Charles Schwab will start off the first quarter of 2009 with three new reports to provide practice management guidance to advisers.

These industry reports are part of the Schwab Market Knowledge Tools (MKT) series, an ongoing program of industry research reports, white papers, and guides that is part of GrowthPoint, Schwab’s integrated practice management program, according to a press release.

The first report of the year, scheduled for release in January, will focus on how advisers can grow their businesses with trust services. According to Schwab, a projected 76 million Baby Boomers will retire over the next 20 years with an estimated $41 trillion to $100 trillion in assets, part of which will be likely transferred to future generations through lifetime gifts or estate distributions. Schwab said trusts can provide an ideal vehicle for these wealth transfers, and can benefit both wealth management clients and wealth management firms. Wealth managers can use trusts to strengthen relationships with existing clients, attract new ones and increase multigenerational asset retention.

In February, the “2008 Best-Managed Firms MKT’ report examining how successful firms manage their businesses will be released. These firms, some 600 whose performance ranked among the top 20% of independent advisory firms that participated in Schwab’s 2007 RIA Benchmarking Study, achieved performance in terms of productivity per professional, profitability, and revenue growth. The report will draw on quantitative data analysis to look at the drivers of their performance and share highlights of interviews with the principals of 30 advisory firms to provide a rich, specific, and useful body of knowledge, according to the release.

A new report outlining best practices for successful CRM system implementation is planned for March. CRM systems are central to back-office operations, enabling firms to maximize efficiencies, grow, and achieve scalability, Schwab said. When integrated properly and used to its maximum potential inside a firm, a CRM system can be a hub for business operations, tracking and managing client interactions and business development activities, coordinating document management systems, serving as the interface to trading and quarter end processing systems, and automating a number of key business processes. This paper will discuss how to plan for and manage the process of implementing a new CRM system or make changes to an existing one, and is intended to help advisers maximize CRM value by implementing underutilized features/functions.

“We are witnessing a shift from a focus on growth to a focus on productivity,’ said Trish Cox, COO of Schwab’s group that serves independent investment advisers. “Today, firms want to be more nimble, take full advantage of opportunities and restore their profitability. These MKTs all center on best practices that can help firms achieve efficiency and improve productivity.’