Fidelity Investments may be nipping at her heels and TD Waterhouse and Ameritrade are planning to bulk up their advisor businesses via a $3 billion merger. But Deborah McWhinney, CEO of Schwab Institutional, says she is confident that the advisor unit of the San Francisco-based discount broker will retain its No. 1 spot in the RIA custody business for the foreseeable future.
Although McWhinney admits in an interview that while “I’m paid to be paranoid,” Schwab Institutional’s latest figures give her reason for optimism. As of June 30, some 5,200 RIAs held $365 billion in custody with Schwab Institutional, a gain of nearly 18% over a year ago. The unit’s number of new accounts, meanwhile, jumped 6% in the period. McWhinney predicts that by 2010, Schwab Institutional may nearly triple in size, to $1 trillion in assets.