Schwab announced today that it helped a record number of brokers go independent in 2009.

Last year Schwab supported 172 new advisory teams as they either started or joined an independent firm, a 40% increase from 2008. Last week, Fidelity announced that it helped a record number of brokers go independent in 2009.

Since 2005, Schwab has helped more than 500 advisor teams convert to independence. These teams manage $45.5 billion of the total $590 billion currently custodied at Schwab, which serves more than 6,000 independent investment advisors on its platform.

As a result of the financial collapse in September 2008, the number of wirehouse advisors either changing firms or going independent last year rose dramatically. Bernie Clark, senior vice president of sales and relationship management for Schwab Advisor Services, says the trend of advisors and clients turning to the independent model actually has been building over the last several years.

Last year Schwab also made a greater effort to reach out to independent broker-dealers who serve advisors with fee and commission business. Approximately one-third of advisors who custody assets with Schwab have a relationship with an independent broker-dealer for commission business, and Schwab has established relationships with more than 100 broker-dealers to support these advisors.