Schwab announced Thursday that three RIA firms were the winners of the custodian's seventh annual Impact Awards. The three recipients were Foster Group Inc.; Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney; and Glassman Wealth Services.
The awards, which include a $15,000 donation in the name of each winning firm to each firm’s charities of their choice and separate donations of $1,000 a to each judges’ charity of choice, presented by Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger and Schwab Advisor Services’ head Bernie Clark at Schwab Impact 2012 in Chicago.
The three winners were chosen by a panel of judges including Julie Littlechild, president of Advisor Impact; Sean Walters, executive director and CEO of IMCA; and Thomas Robinson, managing director for education at the CFA Institute.
The Best-in-Business Schwab Impact Award was presented to Foster Group Inc., based in West Des Moines, Iowa. Foster is an RIA firm with more than $1.1 billion in AUM and 850 clients in 38 states. It was founded in 1989 by Jerry Foster.
"There are a couple of reasons," Foster said, when asked by AdvisorOne about the win. "We had a commitment to succession planning early on, one that's combined with a culture that is employee-oriented and focused on leadership development. We also have a commitment to technology, and have spun off our technology platform into a separate company which other advisors are now using. Lastly, we have great strategic relationships; for instance, we're part of the Zero Alpha Group."
Winning the inaugural Trailblazer award was the McLean, Va.-based Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney. The RIA firm, acquired by Harris Bank in 2003 and part of BMO Private Bank, has more than $2 billion in AUM. The award was created, Schwab said, “to recognize a firm that combines an entrepreneurial spirit with a drive to advance the RIA industry’s interests.”
In addition to being a highly respected wealth management firm, Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney also encourages its staff to become involved in philanthropic and community activities and to take leadership roles in advisor associations.
Co-founder Greg Sullivan, who serves as president of SBSB, was formerly president of the IAFP, one of the predecessor organizations that formed the Financial Planning Association, and is a founder of the Alpha Group, the respected think tank of advisors and advisor partners. Managing Director Mark Johannessen served as president of FPA.
The Pacesetter Impact Award, designed to recognize fast-growing younger firms, was presented to Glassman Wealth Services, also based in McLean, Va. Founded by Barry Glassman in 2009, Glassman Wealth has about $530 million in UAM, representing a 60% growth rate since inception.
As one of its core tenets, the firm believes that advisory firms and their employees can learn lessons from other industries. Glassman described some of the characteristics of his firm and its growth plans as part of an advisor roundtable article that appeared in the October issue of Investment Advisor.
Schwab had previously awarded a separate “Best-in-Tech” Impact award, but said that excellence in technology was shared by several of the recipients of this year’s Impact awards.
Check out complete coverage of Schwab Impact 2012 at AdvisorOne, including: