RIA Trailblazer, John Coghlan, Is Lauded at Schwab Impact

At 20th annual Impact conference, the former Schwab employee is recognized for seeing early on the value, and potential, of the independent RIA model

John Coghlan on Schwab Impact stage after tribute for him. John Coghlan on Schwab Impact stage after tribute for him.

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At the penultimate general session of Schwab Impact 2011, the current leadership of Schwab Advisor Services in the person of Jim McCool lauded the contributions to the RIA community of John Coghlan in an emotional session for many pioneers of that community.

It was Coghlan, said McCool in the preamble to the evening presentation in San Francisco by Joshua Cooper Ramo of Kissinger Associates, who in the 1980s recognized the value of the nascent RIAs to those advisors, to Schwab, to those advisors’ families and to their end clients. McCool (below), executive VP of Schwab’s Institutional Services unit, said Coghlan was the first executive at Schwab who saw the potential of the advisor business. In a video tribute, a number of advisor pioneers, including Dave Diesslin and Peggy Ruhlin, lauded Coghlan for his contributions while he worked at Schwab.

Jim McCool“He got it first,” said Diesslin in the video, while Ruhlin said that Coghlan, who now serves on multiple boards and is a venture capitalist in San Francisco, “helped make our business what it is today.”

Accepting the accolades on stage, Coghlan said that before the advent of RIAs who provided personalized advice to individuals, for many Americans of means “the trusted role was the family lawyer; now it’s you.” He pointed out that “your competitors at the wirehouses are looking more and more like you,” to the crowd of advisors, earning their living through fees and with the most successful of those wirehouse brokers organized into “groups,” just as advisors operate in their own practices.

Praising Schwab and its leadership, Coghlan said to the advisors that “you now constitute a third of Schwab’s revenue” while the RIA channel’s share of Schwab’s total assets under management is much more than that percentage.

In closing the preliminary session to Cooper Ramo’s speech on China, McCool revealed that as an homage to Coghlan, Schwab had made a donation to Coghlan’s favorite charity, the Glide Foundation of San Francisco.

Click here to read AdvisorOne’s complete coverage of Schwab Impact 2011.

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