The RIA industry is on a growth trajectory that shows no signs of slowing, registered investment advisors attending a Schwab annual conference were told on Thursday.
But even as Bernie Clark, executive vice president and head of Schwab Advisor Services, described the industry as being in a position of “undeniable growth,” he cautioned about the impact of the fast pace of change on the profession. Clark addressed roughly 180 RIAs at the annual Schwab Explore conference in Laguna Nigel, Calif.
A study released Thursday by Schwab shows RIAs agree with Clark’s positive view of the industry. Ninety-three percent of respondents said they think the RIA space is in an upward trend, while 53 percent feel it has not matured and will continue to grow at a faster rate than the market, according to the Independent Advisor Outlook Study.
However, Clark warned RIAs not to get too complacent. “External forces like changing demographics and regulatory uncertainty can seem like remote threats as you go about the business of serving clients and managing the growth you are experiencing, but that doesn’t make them less important,” he said.
Clark also noted that Schwab is helping to create the future leaders of RIA firms through its executive leadership program. The inaugural class saw 32 RIA firms graduate from the program, and 34 firms have enrolled for the second year.
Getting back to the study, among the highlights is that 57 percent of advisors said creating diversity in firms with new hires is a priority, and 28 percent reported already taking action to hire women and minorities.
It has been a busy week for Schwab, which on Tuesday announced the launch of Institutional Intelligent Portfolios, an automated digital investment management platform for RIAs.