Schwab Ramps Up Diversity for RIAs

Expands upon initial focus on gender, introduces a new online community

November 05, 2014 – DENVER–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Focusing on the need for greater industry-wide diversity among independent registered investment advisors (RIA), Schwab Advisor Services has launched a comprehensive, multi-faceted program to help advisors understand the opportunity for and the value of creating a diverse workforce, and to help them take action toward accomplishing it.

Called RIA Talent Advantage™, the program is designed to help firms build a culture of inclusion and more effectively attract, promote and retain talent at their firms and be optimally positioned to thrive in a highly competitive marketplace. A key component of the program is a new LinkedIn community, also launched at IMPACT, created to provide a resource to help RIA firm leaders, employees and all advocates of diversity connect with peers and to discuss, share and learn strategies for building a culture of inclusion in their firms. The community will be a hub for custom content including guest posts from industry thought leaders, proprietary and third-party research, moderated discussions and connections to educational programming.

“As the face of the investor changes, we believe greater diversity will be critical in driving RIA growth and sustaining success for the long term,” said Neesha Hathi, senior vice president, who co-leads the diversity effort at Schwab with Mary Rosai, senior vice president and head of marketing for Schwab Advisor Services. “RIA firm growth will be driven by assets that not only come from their existing client base, but increasingly from a more diverse population and advisors must be ready to meet the unique needs of these individuals and their families. With a focus on gender, culture and generational diversity, our program will help RIAs forge new ground and share best practices to serve the evolving investor profile.”

The RIA Talent Advantage™ program will focus on three important aspects of advisor talent and investor segments: Generation Now (investors between the ages of 30-45), ethnic diversity, and women. Schwab will conduct innovative research and provide advisors with tangible, actionable insights and solutions for effecting change in their firms. The first phase of the program will focus on helping advisors better serve the female investor through the recruitment of more female talent, and is intended to help advisors create an inclusive culture, develop women and men currently in the industry, and make the RIA industry, as a whole, a destination of choice for women advisors and investors.

The framework of the RIA Talent Advantage™ encompasses three core areas:

  • RIA firm: Helping advisors build an inclusive culture within their firms and better serve diverse investors
  • Employees: Helping RIAs cultivate and develop diverse internal talent for leadership, ownership and client-facing roles
  • Pipeline: Helping firms build a pipeline of diverse candidates to meet future business needs

“In 2012 we launched a Women’s Advisory Council made up of advisors to focus on tangible steps we could take as an industry toward greater diversity in the independent advice profession,” said initiative co-lead Mary Rosai. “We are now adding emphasis and additional structure to our effort to help advisors better understand the business opportunity and to cultivate female employees for leadership and ownership roles. Our goal is to increase the number of women RIAs, which we believe will benefit advisors and investors alike.”

New Pre-IMPACT Leadership Workshop for Women RIAs

the program is designed to help firms build a culture of inclusion and more effectively attract, promote and retain talent at their firms and be optimally positioned to thrive in a highly competitive marketplace

In addition to launching RIA Talent Advantage™, Schwab hosted a pre-conference leadership workshop for women at IMPACT 2014, one of the nation’s largest and longest-running gatherings of RIAs. The “Women’s Leadership Workshop: Focus on Executive Presence” took place Tuesday, November 4. and included a presentation by Sylvia Ann Hewlett from the Center for Talent Innovation, followed by discussion, interviews with female RIAs, and an interactive workshop featuring advice, valuable insights and focused time to create a personal roadmap for executive presence.

The workshop follows the recent success of Schwab’s “Executive Presence for Women with Melinda Marshall” webcast held September 26. The one-hour webcast featured Schwab’s Neesha Hathi and Melinda Marshall from the Center for Talent Innovation and focused on building a framework to understand the universal dimensions that can increase executive presence. Two guest panelists shared personal stories about how mastering their executive presence changed their careers, as well as tips and resources for honing personal development.

Attracting Talent to the RIA Industry

In September, Schwab released the results of its RIA Talent Study, which surveyed 571 advisors who shared perspectives on four key career areas: becoming an RIA, being an RIA, career management and recruiting. The findings of the study, which are informing some of the initial strategy and content for RIA Talent Advantage™, indicate that advisors are drawn to the industry by opportunities for relationship-based client interactions, the ability to directly contribute to the growth of their firm, and the potential for greater work/life balance.

The full results of the study can be found here.






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Through its operating subsidiaries, The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE: SCHW) provides a full range of securities brokerage, banking, money management and financial advisory services to individual investors and independent investment advisors. Its broker-dealer subsidiary, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC,, and affiliates offer a complete range of investment services and products including an extensive selection of mutual funds; financial planning and investment advice; retirement plan and equity compensation plan services; compliance and trade monitoring solutions; referrals to independent fee-based investment advisors; and custodial, operational and trading support for independent, fee-based investment advisors through Schwab Advisor Services. Its banking subsidiary, Charles Schwab Bank (member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender), provides banking and lending services and products. More information is available and