Close to 2,000 independent financial advisors who custody assets at Schwab are expected to attend the brokerage firm’s annual IMPACT conference in Boston this week.
This is the 25th year of Schwab’s conference, which has become one of the largest and longest-running annual gatherings of independent registered investment advisors. Some 350 exhibitors, mostly asset managers and vendors serving the RIA space, will fill the Boston Exhibition and Convention Center.
Advisors will have the opportunity to attend an enhanced schedule of educational sessions (90, up from 75 last year), ranging from investment strategies to practice management advice to technology implementation. Schwab officials note that some 15 academics, from institutions as renowned as Yale and MIT, will give presentations.
A particular emphasis this year is diversity in the financial services industry, with several sessions emphasizing facets of the financial services industry relevant to advisors of different ages, races or gender.
“The content for advisors this year reflects the realities of today’s RIA firms,” said Jonathan Beatty, senior vice president, sales and relationship management. “Many of whom are at an important intersection between managing current growth and success, and identifying a need to evolve in order to capture the significant growth opportunities that lie ahead.”
Advisors will also hear from Schwab leaders including Bernie Clark, executive vice president and head of Schwab’s advisor services, as well as Walt Bettinger, the president and CEO of Schwab.
Keynote presentations at this year’s conference include Alan Mulally, the former CEO of Ford Motor Company, on the qualities of leadership. Mulally has requested his keynote session be closed to the media.
Also on hand, “intellectual maverick” Fareed Zakaria, the CNN commentator; David Brooks, the New York Times’ columnist; and Yo Yo Ma, the famed cellist.
“Over the last quarter century, IMPACT has evolved to be much more than simply the largest conference of its kind for advisors,” says Beatty. “Today’s IMPACT is a place to learn and grow as an advisor and become enriched as an individual. We’re already seeing strong interest for many of the sessions through early registration, which points to advisors being eager to explore the array of valuable content intended to benefit their firms and their clients.”
Also on the agenda of this year’s conference is an Oxford-style debate between Rob Arnott from Research Affiliates and Roger Ibbotson with Zebra Capital Management, titled “Can the markets be timed?” The debate will be moderated by Omar Aguilar, senior vice president and chief investment officer, equities, for Charles Schwab Investment Management.