The annual Schwab Advisor Services Impact conference always draws big attendee crowds and big-name speakers, and this year’s gathering, which runs from Tuesday through Saturday, is no exception. But since Impact 2011 is being held in Schwab’s hometown of San Francisco, this year’s conference has a distinctly California and independence theme, with an international flavor noticeable as well.
In an interview last week, Nick Georgis of Schwab said that while the Schwab team is “excited about doing this in our home town,” the major theme of the conference will be that “so many advice givers are continuing to join the ranks of independence, embracing a fiduciary responsibility.”
With that ongoing movement toward independence, Georgis (left) said, there is increased interest among RIAs in learning “how do I become a best-managed firm,” much like the annual recipients of the Schwab Impact Awards, which will be revealed Thursday morning by Charles Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger and Schwab Advisor Services’ executive VP Bernie Clark.
This year’s Impact—which will be covered onsite by AdvisorOne’s John Sullivan, Janet Levaux and Jamie Green—will have more than 4,000 total attendees, Georgis said, and with a week to go before its formal start, Georgis said advisor attendance was approaching the same level as the biggest Impact conference, held in Las Vegas in 2007, the year that marked 20 years of Schwab providing custodial services for RIAs.
The conference begins with none other than California’s Bill Gross speaking to Schwab’s LizAnn Sonders in a Tuesday afternoon sit-down moderated by CNBC’s Tyler Mathisen. The ‘bond king’ from Pimco has been even more visible than usual lately with his pronouncements on quantitative easing and the U.S. debt downgrade and, this week, that European and U.S. economic policies are stifling growth.