RIA Benchmarking Study: Getting started

Submitted by kim.sanders on February 5, 2020


Hi, my name is Paula Shoup with Schwab Advisor Services. I wanted to take just a few minutes to talk with you about the value of participating in the RIA Benchmarking Study and how you can get started. This powerful resource is available to all firms that custody assets with Schwab at no cost. Our goal is to provide you with insights to help you plan for the future of your firm, understand your competitive strengths, and identify possible opportunities.  Firms of all sizes are encouraged to participate and can benefit from insights in the study. 

This is the 14th year of the study. Over 1,000 firms participate each year, providing a really robust dataset, so that you can compare your firm against firms of a similar size and business model, firms that are your competitors. It's important to mention, only firms that submit their data via the online study before 5 p.m. Pacific Time, 8 p.m. Eastern Time on March 18th will receive customized benchmarking reports. 

We regularly hear from advisors about the changes they've made in their business based on the insights and trends revealed in the study. Advisors also comment that just the act of gathering the data for the study helps them think about their business in a different light.

The Benchmarking Study has two components. The main part of the study provides peer comparisons on financial performance, staffing, clients, and more. In just a bit, I'll show you a sample of the detailed peer report that participants receive.

You also have the option of completing the compensation portion, which provides detailed salary, incentive, and ownership information at a national and regional level. Those who complete this portion receive a compensation report and access to our compensation tool. Be assured any data that you enter in the study is held in the strictest confidence. We publish high-level summaries of the results, with only aggregated data to conceal any individual firm's response.

Please visit AdvisorServices.Schwab.com/Benchmarking to access the study. You will need to login with your Schwab Advisor Center ID, and then you will come to this Benchmarking page with a module taking you to the study. The module may look a little different if you've participated in the last three years. Additionally, returning advisors will notice that much of the study data is prepopulated to help streamline the data entry process. So that's a benefit of completing the study every year.

Here's what the study looks like when you access it. The first six tabs make up the main portion of the study. The last tab is the Compensation section. That section, which is optional, will be locked until the main part of the study is submitted. 

The study will provide prompts indicating what data is required to submit, and the Validated Data button is helpful to understand what is left to complete. Don’t be concerned about submitting too early.  You can return to change data and resubmit up until 5 p.m. Pacific Time on March 18th. 

Right after you submit the main portion of the study, you will get this immediate snapshot with high-level trends. This complements the detailed customized peer report with hundreds of metrics that you will receive in June. 

Here's a sample of the type of information you will get in your detailed peer report. This sample report is based on a fictitious test firm. On this page, you can see the firm's data, and also the results for firms in their peer group.  We offer 12 peer groups based on assets and business model, so you will have a similar set of firms as comparisons. 

Firms that choose to also complete the compensation section will receive their reports in July, as well as access to the online compensation tool. Here's a sample page from the compensation report showing salary, benefits, and ownership from one out of the 27 roles at the national level and also at the regional level. The online tool enables you to look at this data in a dynamic way.

If you have any questions at all, please contact your Schwab Advisor Services representative or email RIABenchmarking@Schwab.com.  We hope you find this to be a valuable resource and we look forward to your continued participation.

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