Charles Schwab & Co. announced this morning the winners of its sixth annual Impact Awards at its Impact 2011 Conference in San Francisco. The awards recognize advisors and firms that have advanced the industry through their visionary leadership, innovative practices and exceptional growth.

"This year's IMPACT Award winners raise the bar for excellence in client service and exemplary business practices for the independent RIA industry," said Bernie Clark, executive vice president and head of Schwab Advisor Services, to the more than 4,000 attendees gathered at the conference.

This year's Leadership Award goes to Richard Stone, CEO of Calif.-based Private Ocean, and a member of the Board of Trustees at Dominican University of California, where he serves on the finance committee and is the university's treasurer. Stone started his journey in the industry more than 40 years ago when he became one of 41 graduates in the first class of Certified Financial Planners credentialed by the College for Financial Planning in the U.S. Stone was a pioneer in taking a fee-based approach to investment advice, transitioning to the model in the early nineties. His firm today manages more than $700 million in assets for individuals and families.

The Best-in-Business Award winner is Columbus, Ohio-based RIA firm Budros, Ruhlin & Roe Inc. The award recognizes excellence in business management. Founded by Jim Budros and Peggy Ruhlin, the firm became committed to the concept of fee-only financial advisory work when the idea was a radical concept. Today, the firm manages more than $1.5 billion in assets and prides itself on its 20-year-old "Constitution" to provide clients with the very best wealth management services, to respect employees and help them grow in their jobs, to continuously strive for improvement, to earn and be worthy of clients' trust, and to have fun and make a profit.

This year's Pacesetter Award winner is Memphis, Tenn.-based Green Square Capital LLC, which provides an independent RIA platform for wealthy families. In 2001 the founders left Goldman Sachs to start their own firm. The firm has grown substantially over the years and today it manages more than of $1 billion in assets.

As part of the IMPACT Awards program, the Leadership Award winner receives a $25,000 donation from Schwab to the charity of his/her choice; other award winners are granted $10,000 donations from Schwab to designate to the charities of their choosing.

On behalf of Richard Stone of Private Ocean, Schwab made a $25,000 donation to 10,000 Degrees and Dominican University. Schwab made a $10,000 donation to The Budros, Ruhlin & Roe Fund at The Columbus Foundation on behalf of Budros, Ruhlin & Roe. Schwab donated $10,000 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of MidSouth Inc. on behalf of Green Square Capital.

2011 IMPACT Awards winners were selected by a panel of judges, including Julie Littlechild, president of Advisor Impact; Sean R. Walters, executive director and CEO, Investment Management Consultants Association; and Dr. Thomas R. Robinson, managing director, education, CFA Institute.