Some 1,900 independent advisors will descend upon downtown Denver this week for Schwab’s annual IMPACT conference, taking place at the Colorado Convention Center.
IMPACT is one of the largest and longest-running RIA conferences, with close to 5,000 total attendees this year. More than 1,400 exhibitors, sponsors, presenters and local and regional vendors will take part in The Exchange, Schwab’s exhibit hall. The conference will also include more than 65 educational sessions covering investing, technology and practice management.
Themes this year include social media and technology, with sessions on robo advisors and how advisors should handle their digital legacy; alternative investments, with sessions on liquid alternatives and so-called "smart beta," as well as multigenerational wealth transfer. Sallie Krawcheck, former head of global wealth and investment management at Bank of America, is slated to speak on the growing clout of female clients on Thursday.
Schwab’s Chief Investment Officer Liz Ann Sonders will kick things off on Tuesday during a pre-conference session, where she’ll provide her economic outlook and try to make sense of recent market swings. Following Sonders, Greg Valliere, chief political strategist at Potomac Research Group, will lead a discussion on the U.S. political climate and the potential impact of the mid-term elections.
Bernie Clark, head of Schwab Advisor Services, will provide his perspective on the state of the RIA industry and give an update on what’s new at Schwab during his opening remarks Wednesday morning. That’s followed by a conversation with Walt Bettinger, president and CEO of Charles Schwab.
Top speakers at the conference include former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who ran the Fed during the 2008 market crash.
Former President George W. Bush will speak at the end of the day Thursday. On Nov. 11, the younger Bush’s biography of his father, President George H.W. Bush, called 41: A Portrait of My Father, hits bookstores. During his speech, Bush will provide his perspective on his father, leadership, his eight-year term in office and the challenges that face the U.S. in the future.
International economist and author Dr. Dambisa Moyo will discuss the ideological schism between the developed world and emerging market countries. She is a New York Times best-seller of Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa and How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly and the Stark Choices Ahead, as well as Winner Take All: China’s Race for Resources and What it Means for the World. She earned her doctorate in economics from Oxford University and a master’s degree from Harvard University.
During the conference, Schwab will also announce the winners of its IMPACT Awards, which recognize RIA firms for leadership, innovative business practices and strategic growth. The firm will also present the Best in Retirement Business, a new award that honors a firm that has excelled in retirement planning services.