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The RIA Talent Advantage Scholarship Program, announced this week by Schwab Advisor Services in partnership with the Charles Schwab Foundation, intends to remove barriers and open doors for the next generation of independent investment advisory professionals.

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According to the announcement, the program is an expansion of Schwab’s University Grant Program, another partnership with the foundation, that aims to raise awareness of the RIA profession on behalf of advisors, and establish a pipeline for hiring.

Schwab said that since it rolled out the program, it has made more than $10 million in grants to financial planning programs at U.S. universities.

“It is essential that we attract a new generation of advisors to help carry the industry forward and meet the needs of increasingly diverse investors, Bernard Clark, head of Schwab Advisor Services, said in the announcement.

“We at Schwab, as well as our new colleagues from TD Ameritrade, have long championed this goal, and we are excited to come together to continue raising awareness of the RIA profession and actively supporting the development of next generation advisor talent.”

The RIA Talent Advantage Scholarship Program comprises two scholarships.

Twelve students will be selected annually to each receive a Student Scholarship valued at $5,000. Half of the scholarships will be reserved for underrepresented groups, Schwab said. The winners will also be invited to attend Schwab Impact, a long-running annual gathering of RIAs.

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In addition, the Impact Scholarship will cover associated expenses of 80 students each year so that they can travel to attend Schwab Impact as part of an extended learning experience.

“Through our annual RIA Benchmarking Study and consulting work with firms, we know that people are a firm’s most important asset, and building a talent pipeline is a critical component of a firm’s long-term success,” Lisa Salvi, vice president for business consulting and education at Schwab Advisor Services, said in the announcement.

“As investor demographics shift, it is increasingly important for firm leaders to develop diverse teams in terms of gender, generation and race.”

Besides the Scholarship Program and University Grant Program, Schwab Advisor Services also offers an eight-week rotational RIA Summer Internship Program to prepare undergraduate students for employment at independent investment advisory firm.

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