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'Chuck' Schwab, Tony Blair to headline IMPACT 2011

A former leader of the free world? Cool. But bring on Chuck!

Friday, May 20, 2011 – 2:37 PM by Brooke Southall
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Chuck Schwab is sparing in his public appearances, which gives them energy.

Schwab Advisor Services has announced its keynote speakers for the 20th edition of its annual IMPACT conference and Tony Blair and Charles “Chuck” Schwab top the list.

The former prime minister of the United Kingdom, is, of course, is a major “get” for the firm’s annual conference to be held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center on Nov. 3. Blair is a fresh face on the advisor conference circuit having slipped through the fingers of TD Ameritrade in February when he forced to bow out due to the Egyptian crisis. See: TD Ameritrade replaces Tony Blair with Colin Powell for 2011 national conference

But despite the presence of a major player on the world stage, advisors could well see Schwab himself as the major draw. Many may have met or heard the great man speak briefly, but this is the first time in IMPACT’s two-decade history that the firm’s chairman and founder has agreed to be a headliner. Scheduled for a 90-minute slot from 8-9:30 a.m., Schwab is expected to speak for 60 minutes, the rest of the time being allocated to a Q&A session.

Schwab’s mystique derives from his iconic status in the industry. After all, before Chuck created the mutual fund supermarket, advisors were forced to contract separately with each mutual fund company – an expensive administrative burden. He also righted the company ship in 2003 after temporarily turning over control to David S. Pottruck.

Schwab survived heart surgery in December. So it’s only natural that advisors will be eager to hear his take on the present and future of The Charles Schwab Corp. – the most significant business partner for most of the RIAs in the audience. See: Charles Schwab will speak and his fellow CEOs will listen

Father of the industry

Schwab is the father of the RIA industry, according to Tom Meyer, president of Meyer Capital Group Inc., which manages about $600 million of assets from Marlton, N.J.

“The young Turks don’t realize what this man has done for the business; [RIAs] were a lump on a log [before Chuck Schwab created a platform for independent advisors]. My profit margins went up 50% in one day [after connecting to Schwab’s mutual fund supermarket.]”

Schwab is somewhat more reclusive than some of his more media-friendly contemporaries. “One thing about Bill Gross: you turn on the television and there he is,” says Meyer. Gross, managing director and CIO of PIMCO, is also speaking at IMPACT.

“We know advisors like to hear from him,” says Lindsay Tiles, spokeswoman for Schwab. “He’s a very candid speaker and he’ll give his view on what’s going to happen in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Hot and cold referrals

Advisors are also hoping that Schwab discuss some of the aspects of Schwab that directly affect them.

Relations between RIAs and Schwab Advisor Services are at a historically non-adversarial level according to Roger Hewins, CEO of Hewins Financial Advisors, a Schwab client that manages $2.5 billion from San Mateo, Calif.

But Hewins says it would be interesting if Schwab shed light on the direction that Charles Schwab & Co. is headed with its retail wealth management offering, which seems to toggle back and forth from a Merrill Lynch-like model to one that looks more like an RIA firm, resulting in referrals that “run hot and cold” from Schwab branches.

Joshua Cooper Ramo, managing director of Kissinger Associates, is slated to be the third keynote speaker. Yet despite the presence of this expert on the Chinese economy and a former English prime minister it’s likely that talking to Chuck Schwab that will bring its own kind of excitement to the event.

Advisors can register for Schwab IMPACT 2011 starting in June.

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May 20, 2011 — 3:04 PM

I am not sure if I am missing a past reference possibly, but Tony Blair is NOT a former Leader of the Free World…a very common expression since the Cold War for the President of the United States of America….

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