Schwab Advisor Services welcomed over 2,000 advisors to Schwab Impact 2014, held Nov. 4-7 in the cavernous Colorado Convention Center in Denver (only the journalists traveling to the remote press room seemed to complain about the Center’s size).

The Colorado Convention Center in Denver Photo by Jamie Green. All other photos, unless noted, courtesy of Charles Schwab.

In the opening session of Impact on Nov. 5, the head of Schwab Advisor Sevices, Bernie Clark (left), introduced Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger, who spoke of the importance of RIAs to Schwab corporate and discussed the strategy behind the firm’s nascent robo-advisor offering, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios.

See Schwab’s Bettinger, Clark: RIAs Must Evolve; Robos in ‘Top of the First’

Bernie Clark (left) and Walt Bettinger of Schwab

Former Federal Reserve Board chair Ben Bernanke defended his actions during the financial crisis and QE, offered reassurance on inflation, cracked a few jokes and discussed his legacy in prepared remarks seen here and a fireside chat with Schwab’s Liz Ann Sonders in an Impact theater packed with receptive advisors.

See Bernanke Recalls ‘Panic’ During Fed Tenure, Defends QE

Ben Bernanke speaks at Schwab Impact 2014 in Denver

Schwab announced its ninth annual Impact Awards at the conference, which went to three RIA firms and one recordkeeper. Here, Schwab’s Bernie Clark poses with the management team of the Best-in-Business Award winner Bingham, Osborn & Scarborough LLC (BOS), a San Francisco-based RIA firm.

See Schwab Impact Awards Go to 3 RIA Firms, Recordkeeper

Schwab's Bernie Clark presents award to Bingham, Osborn & Scarborough

Another Impact Award winner was Beacon Pointe Advisors, based in Newport Beach, California, which won the Trailblazer Award. Schwab’s Bernie Clark (far left) poses with the Beacon Pointe management team. 

Judges for the awards were: Blaine Aikin of fi360; Kevin Keller of the CFP Board of Standards; Julie Littlechild of Advisor Impact; Thomas Robinson of the CFA Institute; and Sean Walters of IMCA.Beacon Pointe Advisors won the 2014 Trailblazer Impact Award

Schwab senior vice president of advisor technology Neesha Hathi presented a session on what advisors’ clients expect, particularly in the way of technology and access.

See Schwab’s Hathi: What Clients Expect Now 

Schwab's Neesha Hathi at Impact 2014

The Pacesetter Impact Award was presented to Joe Duran (center) of United Capital Financial Advisers by Bernie Clark, head of Schwab Advisor Services. United Capital, based in Newport Beach, California, has grown in less than 10 years to a firm with $10 billion in AUM and $100 million in annual revenue.

The Pacesetter Impact Award was presented to United Capital

The first-ever Schwab Impact Best-in-Retirement Award was presented to Alliance Benefit Group of Minnesota and Kansas (ABG-MNKC) for its pioneering efforts in retirement plan administration.  Bernie Clark of Schwab (far left) presents the award to Alliance Benefit. Over the nine years of the awards’ existence, Schwab has donated nearly $500,000 to charities named by the award recipients.

Alliance Benefit Group wins first-ever Best-in-Retirement Impact Award

Sallie Krawcheck was a big draw at the conference, along with Liz Ann Sonders of Schwab, Greg Valliere of Potomac Research Group, Ben Bernanke and President George W. Bush (the press was excluded at Bush’s request from attending his speech; reports from those who did attend say the former president was well received).

In Krawcheck’s presentation, the former Merrill Lynch advisor chief and now CEO of Ellevate argued that a lack of diversity hurts clients and even the economy.

See Krawcheck to Advisors: Stop Acting Like It’s 1957

Ellevate's Sallie Krawcheck speaks at Schwab Impact 2014

As it has done in the past, Fidelity engaged in some guerrilla marketing during the Schwab Impact conference, as with this billboard outside the Colorado Convention Center and through tweets that found their way into the #SchwabImpact Twitter feed. The Schwab competitor’s presence in downtown Denver was dwarfed by Schwab’s own large billboards featuring advisors marking their “Independence Day.” Impact will be held next year in Boston.

AFidelity billboard outside the Denver Convention Center during Schwab Impact 2014

(Photo by Jamie Green.)

For more on Schwab Impact 2014, we invite you to read these additional articles: