Schwab Institutional on Tuesday announced the winners of the second annual IMPACT Awards, an industry-wide award program that honors advisors and firms that have advanced the industry through their leadership, technology innovation, operational excellence and notable growth. The winners were recognized at the company's annual IMPACT conference taking place this week in Las Vegas.

The Charles R. Schwab IMPACT Award went to Lewis J. Altfest, president of L.J. Altfest & Co. in New York. Altfest's practice has grown from a one-man shop in 1983 to a 21-person firm managing $550 million in client assets and sporting an annual growth of more than 20%. He has also been recognized as a leading independent advisor in Financial Advisor, Barron's, Worth, Money and other publications.

Altfest developed an innovative wealth management system, Total Portfolio Management (TPM), that's based on the philosophy that a planner must understand how individuals think in order to develop a realistic financial plan. TPM incorporates all assets and liabilities, including human assets and real estate, into the planning process and takes into account behavioral elements such as discretionary and nondiscretionary spending. Altfest helped to develop the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), an organization of fee-only financial planning professionals.

The Moneta Group of St. Louis won the Best-in-Business Award winner for its success in delivering a wide range of services to clients that includes money management, in-house estate planning, tax planning and preparation, retirement planning, charitable giving, business succession planning and risk management. Assets under management have grown from approximately $3 billion to more than $6 billion during the past five years while the number of clients has remained the same.

Friedman & Associates of Novato, Calif., was named the Best-in-Tech winner. Between 1998 and 2004, the firm doubled its client size and tripled its assets under management without hiring additional administrative employees. The firm believes this success and its 40% annual growth stem from increased productivity through technology. The firm's president, Greg Friedman, helped create "Your Silver Bullet", an organization that now has 21 members committed to enabling different software applications to share data easily. The organization is developing interfaces and data standards so that core functions advisors perform using software-including portfolio management, CRM and document management-will be more integrated, freeing advisors to spend more time serving clients.

Abacus Planning Group of Columbia, South Carolina, won the Pacesetter Award. The firm emphasizes developing team members and takes a team approach to client service, and has grown from a two-person staff with a handful of clients to a 16-person firm that manages more than $500 million in client assets. Abacus incorporates a number of practice management strategies to enhance the culture and develop employees who can help the firm grow, such as a career path model that encourages employees at each career stage to participate in the management of the business. Each team member serves on one of four business teams: CFO, marketing, operations or human resources.

"The 2007 IMPACT Award winners exemplify the very best of the industry," said Charles Goldman, Schwab Institutional's executive vice president, who presented each of the winners with an IMPACT Awards trophy at the ceremony. Each winner also was granted a donation from Schwab Institutional to their charity of choice.