A new online listing service offered by Charles Schwab has attracted 183independent advisors looking to buy and sell a business, according to the company.

In other news, Charles Schwab Institutional also celebrated reaching the $300 billion mark in assets custodied by its advisor clients.

The listing service, which is part of a suite of transition services offered by Schwab, has attracted 160 buyers and 23 sellers since its launch in January, Schwab officials say. The service is located at www.schwabtransition.com.

Demographics pointed to a need for the service, the company says. Schwab says its in-house research shows that many independent advisors are 50 years or older and plan to retire or transition ownership of their firms within the next 5 to 15 years.

Yet the research also shows that only 20% of advisors have a formal succession plan in place, according to Schwab.

In regards to reaching the $300 billion milestone, Schwab officials says the growth in assets now means that Schwab Institutional constitutes about 30% of the more than $1 trillion in assets held at Charles Schwab & Co.

Schwab Institutional has about 5,000 advisor firm clients, serving 1.2 million client accounts.
The advisors services arm of Schwab was founded in 1987 with about $4.3 billion in custodied assets. It grew to $146.5 billion in 1998, and was at $285 billion at the end of 2003. Assets reached an all-time high of $303.5 billion at the end of the first quarter in 2004.

About 35% of the asset growth this year has been new net assets, says Deborah McWhinney, president of Schwab Institutional, who feels investors have turned a corner after suffering through a three-year bear market.

"People are no longer sitting on the fence," McWhinney says. "The deer-in-the-headlights syndrome is gone."

She attributed the company's success to its breadth of services, its stability and to the Schwab Advisor Network, a referral service that she says has steered about $21 billion in client assets to independent advisors. She feels this should blunt the frequent criticism that Schwab's retail operations intrude on the businesses of its advisor clients.
"In any shape or form, that's a lot of money," she says.