BOSTON — Charles Schwab Advisor Services announced today the recipients of the 10th annual IMPACT Awards® for independent registered investment advisor (RIA) and retirement firms. Four firms received their awards on the mainstage this morning at Schwab IMPACT®, the nation’s largest and longest-running annual gathering of RIA firms.
The winning firms for 2015 are:
Savant Capital Management, for the Best-in-Business IMPACT Award™
FJY Financial, LLC, for the Pacesetter IMPACT Award™
Yeske Buie, for the Trailblazer IMPACT Award™
Conrad Siegel Actuaries, for the Best-in-Retirement Business IMPACT Award™
The IMPACT Awards® are given each year to select firms who have advanced the industry’s reputation for client service through their demonstrated leadership, innovative business practices and strategic growth. Schwab makes a donation of $15,000 to a charity of each winner’s choice. Since the debut of the IMPACT Awards® a decade ago, Schwab has donated more than half a million dollars on behalf of the winning firms.
“The four IMPACT Award-winning firms this year are each representative of the best qualities of independent investment advisors,” said Jon Beatty, senior vice president, sales and relationship management, Schwab Advisor Services. “These individuals and teams have helped build this industry and continue to create thriving businesses that contribute to its ongoing growth and success — all while putting their clients’ interests first. We applaud these firms and their achievement this year, as we mark the 25th anniversary of IMPACT and the 10th anniversary of the awards.”
A judging panel of industry experts and veterans selected the award-winning firms. This year’s IMPACT Awards® judges were: Blaine F. Aikin, CEO, fi360; Kevin Keller, CEO, CFP Board; Julie Littlechild, President, If Not Now Research; Thomas R. Robinson, Co-President and CEO, AACSB International; and Sean R. Walters, Executive Director and CEO, Investment Management Consultants Association. Schwab also donates $1,000 to a charity selected by each judge in recognition of their dedication of time and expertise to the awards selection process.
BEST-IN-BUSINESS IMPACT AWARD™: SAVANT CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, Rockford and Chicago, IL
In business for more than a quarter century, Savant’s path to success has been driven by a clear vision: To build ideal futures. The firm’s philosophy is, the more clients’ lives they touch, the more financial futures they can build. The more clients they serve, the greater the need to hire and develop the RIA community. Savant’s commitment to clients is continually reflected in a 98 percent retention rate of client assets. By year-end 2016, Savant aspires to achieve $6 billion in assets under management, and sees its aggressive growth as an opportunity.
Strategic planning is key to Savant’s growth. Specific strategies include organic growth and M&A to capture new talent and geography, alongside platforms and systems to support a consistent client experience. A three-year marketing plan is in place to align resources with business development goals. Meanwhile, Savant employs a dedicated chief compliance officer (CCO) to ensure a strong culture while also fostering employee empowerment and buy-in. The firm also recently hired a chief information officer to focus on the top priority of managing risk and optimizing key processes.
Savant demonstrates best practices in its use and enhancement of technology across customer relationship management (CRM), document management, voice processing and portfolio calculations, as well as client reporting. The adoption of Value Stream Mapping (VSM), an operational improvement process, enables Savant to increase capacity without sacrificing quality. The firm’s VSM initiative, coupled with technology platform enhancements, has enabled an 82 percent increase in trading volume, with no new hires. In addition, it has enabled paperless tracking and management of asset transfers by building a new interface in SharePoint and optimizing its data warehouse system.
Schwab will make donations to The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois on behalf of Savant Capital Management.
PACESETTER IMPACT AWARD™: FJY FINANCIAL, LLC of Reston, VA and Midland, TX
FJY Financial, LLC formed in 2006 when three of Northern Virginia’s top financial planning and investment management professionals combined their decades of experience to build a client-centered firm. Since 2006, the firm has worked toward the goal of becoming a model firm in its profession, focusing on human capital strategy, innovative technology, and client education to enhance the experience all clients have when working with the firm.
Recently, the firm has been providing educational outreach as a leading growth strategy. These are educational workshops developed and presented by lead advisors, which aim to give back to the community, attract clients, and focus on financial issues that matter most to individuals and families.
Additional strategic goals include 100 percent retention of talent, a consistent and scalable client experience, and a combination of the right technology and the right training to drive efficiencies between the Virginia and Texas offices. For example, FJY now leverages the best document management systems in a cloud environment, to give advisors paperless access to all client information at any time.
In addition, FJY will persist with its focus on people with a comprehensive review of its employee compensation program; will continue the transition of client relationships to the next generation of advisors; and is developing a strategic technology plan.
Schwab will make donations of $7,500 to Be the Match Foundation (in memory of Mathias Giordano), and $7,500 to the NAPFA Consumer Education Foundation on behalf of FJY Financial, LLC.
TRAILBLAZER IMPACT AWARD ™: YESKE BUIE, of San Francisco, CA and Vienna, VA
Yeske Buie’s founders have almost 60 years of experience, yet the firm is entrepreneurial and one of its strategic goals is that the owners become dispensable. Forging new ground and advancing the industry are core philosophies of the firm, and embracing change is a stated value.
The firm is committed to helping individuals enter the profession, with three internal initiatives for industry newcomers: an internship program; a Financial Planning Resident program; and a career-path template that guides people along the professional trajectory from planner to principal. The Financial Planning Resident program is a trendsetter, in that it hires residents as full-time employees and trains them as associate financial planners, with the plan of having the residents leave at the end of three years. The continual influx of new staff helps the firm live with a beginner’s mind and pursue constant growth. In client services, Yeske Buie is formalizing a process and service aimed at millennials.
Yeske Buie also stands out for its efforts to spearhead the use of policy-based financial planning, which leverages synergies between academics and financial planning. The firm principals are active in academics as influential professors and leaders at Golden Gate University, Ageno School of Business. The firm also gives back to the community, highlighted by their Give Big Initiative, where the team regularly volunteers.
Schwab will make donations to the Foundation for Financial Planning on behalf of Yeske Buie.
BEST-IN-RETIREMENT BUSINESS AWARD ™: CONRAD SIEGEL ACTUARIES of Harrisburg, PA
Founded in 1963, Conrad Siegel Actuaries has established a reputation for its retirement expertise and for its active role in supporting the retirement industry. Concentrated on meeting the needs of plan sponsors as well as participants, 60 percent of the firm’s revenue is generated through serving defined contribution or defined benefit plans.
Conrad Siegel has identified several strategies for growth in the next five years, including geographic expansion and new practice areas, which it believes will add value for existing clients.
Conrad Siegel’s recommendations to clients are unclouded by commissions or revenue sharing, fostering an environment built for service. Plan sponsors receive customized, best-fit services and the firm offers added value through its attention to compliance, personalization and consistency. Some of the firm’s clients have been with Conrad Siegel since its founding, and many clients have had the same trusted contacts for decades.
For plan participants, Conrad Siegel develops plans that are simple and easy to understand. To help participants make good choices, the firm uses concepts from actuarial and behavioral science and has an emphasis on simplicity. Customer service is another area of significance for participants. The individuals who answer participants’ questions are the same team members who work on client plans, not call center representatives. The firm also offers comprehensive benefit statements to help employers communicate the value of the program to plan participants.
Schwab will make a donation to Joshua Group on behalf of Conrad Siegel.
About the IMPACT Awards®
Independent registered investment advisors have fundamentally changed the financial services landscape by providing independent investment advice to high-net-worth investors. Established by Schwab in 2006, the IMPACT Awards® recognize these contributions by honoring advisors and firms that have advanced the industry through their visionary leadership, operational excellence and technology innovation.
The Best-in-Business Award goes to an independent investment advisory firm that has been in business for at least 10 years and has a track record of growth and excellence, as well as leading technology solutions that have helped expand market reach, responsiveness and operational efficiencies.
The Pacesetter Award pays tribute to a firm in business 10 years or less that has shown initiative, growth and promise, as well as a focused use of technology to extend its reach.
The Trailblazer Award recognizes an independent advisory firm that is forging new ground in the RIA space by combining entrepreneurial spirit with a drive to advance the industry’s interests as a whole.
The Best-in-Retirement Business Award honors an independent record keeper or advisor focusing on retirement plans that understands the unique needs of plan sponsors and/or participants and has developed an innovative approach to serving them.
In addition to the IMPACT Awards®, Schwab engages in a wide range of efforts to support and advance the independent advisory industry. Initiatives include donations to non-profit organizations and universities, as well as amplifying the voice of independent advisors in Washington, D.C. on regulatory and public affairs issues. Schwab Advisor Services is also the driver behind RIAStandsForYou.com, a digital advertising campaign supporting independent RIAs with the goal of increasing awareness of the independent advisory model among high net-worth investors.
About Charles Schwab
At Charles Schwab we believe in the power of investing to help individuals create a better tomorrow. We have a history of challenging the status quo in our industry, innovating in ways that benefit investors and the advisors and employers who serve them, and championing our clients’ goals with passion and integrity.