Schwab Advisor Services today announced the recipients of its annual IMPACT Awards® for registered investment advisors (RIAs). The winning firms for 2013 are:
- Homrich Berg, for the Best-in-Business IMPACT Award™
- Paracle Advisors, LLC, for the Pacesetter IMPACT Award™
- Evensky & Katz Wealth Management, for the Trailblazer IMPACT Award™
BEST-IN-BUSINESS IMPACT AWARD™: HOMRICH BERGHomrich Berg is Atlanta’s largest fee-only wealth management firm. Founded in 1989, and now with more than $3 billion in assets under management, the firm is known for its personalized brand of small-firm service coupled with big-firm resources and expertise. Combining comprehensive financial planning and investment management, Homrich Berg delivers individualized advice to more than 800 high-net-worth families and institutions across the country. It’s a stated goal of the firm to be one of the country’s top RIAs, and their longstanding commitment to innovation and reinvention are essential tools for helping them get there. As they continue their growth, Homrich Berg also continues to deliver on its promise to provide high-touch, personalized client service. The firm’s new chief operations officer was recently brought aboard to help maintain the firm’s position on the cutting edge of operations and client service. The latest strategy in the firm’s ongoing evolution has also included realigning back-office operations to support new growth, enhancing the capabilities of the dedicated investments team, and standardizing the toolkit of options for clients and prospects. Homrich Berg maintains a culture of currency and relevance by encouraging ongoing input from all levels of employees. Internal teams are focused on identifying new ways to improve client service and efficiency. Whether practice management or client-focused, changes are implemented when the firm identifies a solution that delivers on their commitment to continually improve client service. Homrich Berg recently implemented Black Diamond portfolio reporting software, for example, and has already seen client satisfaction improvements as well as enhancements to productivity. Additionally, virtual desktop technology was added this year, accelerating speed and access for employees. Schwab will make a donation to the American Diabetes Association on behalf of Homrich Berg. PACESETTER IMPACT AWARD™: PARACLE ADVISORS, LLC In 2004, Paracle Advisors principals Anne Marie Kessler, Elliott J. Brink and Joshua E. Harris launched their Seattle-based firm with a clear vision: to create a service driven firm that integrates financial planning and investment advice to help people simplify complex financial information so that they feel secure in their financial lives. Nearly ten years later, with approximately $480 million in assets under management, Paracle’s success remains rooted in their dedication to individuals and families who want straight talk about investing and financial planning. Paracle cross-trains its client teams and believes employee development and education are vital to successful growth. Team members are charged with becoming subject matter experts on projects of personal interest. They then demonstrate how their newfound expertise can be implemented throughout the firm. Employees research complex topics and find simple solutions for improving Paracle’s business practices. The exercise also refines presentation and leadership skills. Staff members are compensated for their effort through flexible work schedules and a generous paid-time-off policy, as well as incentive programs and bonuses for meeting tangible goals.
Paracle’s core tenets of simplicity, humility, transparency and empowerment are embedded in all aspects of its operation. The firm shares its ideal client profile with professionals in the community as well as with existing clients, and advisors foster close relationships with them all, helping their business continue to grow. Technology helps Paracle organize complex financial data with clients in simpler terms, enabling both client and advisor to make more confident decisions. Paracle hired an operations manager this year to streamline workflows, make better use of technology and create efficiencies among staff. As a result, the firm’s advisors are better able to focus on providing excellent client service.Schwab will make a donation to Seattle-based Treehouse, a charity that benefits foster children, on behalf of Paracle Advisors, LLC. TRAILBLAZER IMPACT AWARD™: EVENSKY & KATZ WEALTH MANAGEMENT Founded in 1985, Evensky & Katz Wealth Management is led by the dynamic husband-and-wife duo Harold Evensky and Deena Katz. The couple and their Coral Gables, Florida-based firm are internationally recognized champions of financial advice and education. Evensky & Katz was among the first firms in the country to become fee-only. Their drive to break new ground continues today and the firm anticipates doubling in size over the next five years. Evensky & Katz is making strategic moves now to minimize disruptions along the path to growth, including expansion of its physical space, upgrades to technology and additions to staff. Passionate advocates for the industry, Evensky & Katz founders have a legacy of leadership among RIAs. The firm’s business reflects a commitment to individual investors and independent advice and its influence is felt throughout the RIA industry. Deena Katz is a prolific author and tenured professor at Texas Tech University and she figured prominently in the development of financial planning as an academic discipline. Harold Evensky is a frequent lecturer and author as well. His influential 1997 book, Wealth Management, helped introduce the concept of ‘wealth management’ to the advisor profession. An advocate for the industry, Evensky actively engages with legislators and regulators to raise awareness of the importance of independent advice. He is a founding member of The Committee for Fiduciary Standards. Evensky & Katz and its principals are active in philanthropic pursuits that benefit their local community. In 2005, the firm founded Motivated Youth, a program that has taught financial literacy and community engagement to approximately 1,000 underserved high school students in Miami-Dade County. For their effort, principals David Evensky and Matt McGrath received a key to Miami-Dade County by civic leaders. Evensky & Katz has also established a charitable gift fund at Coral Gables Community Foundation, and its annual charity golf tournament has raised more than $200,000 for local non-profits.
Schwab will make a donation to Coral Gables Community Foundation’s Evensky & Katz Fund on behalf of Evensky & Katz.About the IMPACT Awards® Independent registered investment advisors have fundamentally changed the financial services landscape by providing independent investment advice to high-net-worth investors. Established by Schwab in 2006, the IMPACT Awards recognize these contributions by honoring advisors and firms that have advanced the industry through their exemplary business practices. The Best-in-Business IMPACT Award goes to an independent investment advisory firm that has been in business for at least 10 years and has a track record of growth and excellence, as well as best-in-class technology solutions that have helped expand market reach, responsiveness and operational efficiencies. The Pacesetter IMPACT Award pays tribute to a firm in business 10 years or less that has shown initiative, growth and promise, as well as a focused use of technology to extend its reach. The Trailblazer IMPACT Award recognizes an independent advisory firm that is setting new forges new ground in the RIA space by combining entrepreneurial spirit with a drive to advance the industry’s interests as a whole. In addition to the IMPACT Awards, Schwab engages in a wide range of efforts to support and advance the independent advisory industry. Activities include donations to non-profit organizations and universities, as well as providing a voice in Washington, D.C., on regulatory and public affairs issues that matter to RIAs. Schwab Advisor Services also is the driver behind RIAStandsForYou.com, a multi-media advertising campaign supporting independent RIAs with the goal of increasing awareness of the independent advisory model among high net-worth investors. For more information on the IMPACT Awards program, visit impact.schwab.com/awards/about.html. About Charles Schwab At Charles Schwab we believe in the power of investing to help individuals create a better tomorrow. We have a history of challenging the status quo in our industry, innovating in ways that benefit investors and the advisors and employers who serve them, and championing our clients’ goals with passion and integrity. More information is available at www.aboutschwab.com. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and our Schwab Talk blog. Disclosures 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, www.sipc.org), 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 at www.schwab.com and www.aboutschwab.com. The advisory firms (“Advisor”) are not owned by or affiliated with Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (“Schwab”) or its affiliates, and their personnel are not employees or agents of Schwab or its affiliates. The IMPACT Award and this video are not a referral to, endorsement or recommendation of, or testimonial for an Advisor with respect to its investment advisory or other services. Each investor must decide whether to hire any investment advisor and what authority to give it. Schwab does not supervise investment advisors and takes no responsibility to monitor the services they provide. The information provided and views expressed by the Advisors are their own, without endorsement or verification by Schwab, and some statements have been edited.