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Guiding Principles Series

Access a collection of Guiding Principles Series (GPS) Insight Papers designed to help inform business decisions for your firm and chart your strategic direction. Clients can use their Schwab Advisor Center® credentials to download full white papers.

Get an overview of how Top Performing Firms are achieving next-level success in this introductory guiding principles paper—or scan the papers below for more topics.

Featured topic

Activating your M&A strategy

Better understanding the complex M&A process can help firms get clear on how to invest resources and move forward with confidence. Packed with research—including powerful advisor insights—this comprehensive action guide is designed to help both buyers and sellers prepare strategically for future M&A activity.

Most recent GPS Insight Papers

  • The Give/Get pact

    Finding, recruiting, and retaining talent can be challenging for advisory firms of all sizes. Learn how a compelling employee value proposition can help firms differentiate themselves in the marketplace—so they can have the human capital they need to help them drive growth and create an enduring business. 

  • Maximizing firm growth—Five keys to building a successful referral strategy

    Firms that grow faster than industry averages take a deliberate approach to generating referrals. This report explores five common principles successful firms incorporate into their referral strategy to drive firm growth.

  • Balancing scale and personalization

    Results from the 2023 RIA Benchmarking Study demonstrate the industry's strength in the face of a challenging year, with organic growth and retention showcasing the power of the independent model. Plus, see how personalized interactions and investment strategies can help advisors differentiate themselves and build trusted, long-term relationships.

  • Compensation: A key component of a talent strategy

    See how talent helps drive firm growth and long-term success in this compensation white paper from the 2023 RIA Benchmarking Study. As people are a firms' most important asset and largest investment, it's vital that firms unlock their employees' potential, reward staff, and develop the next generation of leaders.

  • Expanding ownership—Leveraging firm equity to maximize talent and accelerate growth

    An effective equity ownership program can play an essential role in both talent strategy and succession planning, two key ingredients in an independent advisory firm's long-term success. This comprehensive Guiding Principle Series (GPS) Insight paper provides a step-by-step framework, deep case studies, and hypothetical firm illustrations to help investment advisors navigate their options and create or evolve a program that fits their firm.

  • Top Performing Firms: Mastering strategic planning—A practical guide to charting your firm’s future

    This white paper highlights the discipline of strategic planning as a powerful tool many RIA firms use to grow profitably. Adapting concepts from thought leaders in the field of strategic planning and strategy, the report breaks down the strategic planning process into manageable steps.

Access game-changing thought leadership

  • Build on your success with these resources

    Our collection of white papers delivers actionable information on a range of timely topics specific to RIAs, including strategic planning; client value creation; tech, ops and cyber; marketing and growth; and talent strategies.

  • Insights for investment advisors

    If you’re not yet a client of Schwab, you can still unlock access to exclusive insights, expertise, and analysis from Schwab Advisor Services.


About the 2023 RIA Benchmarking Study from Charles Schwab

Schwab designed the RIA Benchmarking Study to capture insights in the RIA industry based on survey responses from individual firms. The 2023 study provides information on topics such as asset and revenue growth, sources of new clients, products and pricing, staffing, compensation, marketing, technology, and financial performance. Since the inception of the study in 2006, more than 4,500 firms have participated, with many repeat participants. Fielded from January to March 2023, the study contains self-reported data from 1,300 firms that custody their assets with Schwab and represents over $1.7 trillion in assets under management, making this the leading study in the RIA industry. Schwab did not independently verify or validate the self-reported information. Participant firms represent various sizes and business models. They are categorized into eight peer groups by AUM size. The study is part of Schwab Business Consulting and Education, a practice management offering for RIAs. Grounded in the best practices of leading independent advisory firms, Business Consulting and Education provides insight, guidance, tools, and resources to help RIAs strategically manage and grow their firms.

Past performance is not an indicator of future results.