An investment advisor reflects on the current state of the market.

Market Knowledge Tools

Access a collection of Market Knowledge Tools (MKT)—reports 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.

Featured topic

A foundation for success

How do you address the complexities of growing your firm and creating an enduring business? This executive summary outlines Schwab's practice management point of view, exploring how Top Performing Firms achieve next-level success. The document includes links to additional whitepapers on each of the five Guiding Principles for Advisory Firm Success, providing actionable insights that allow you to address the areas that matter to you most.

Most recent MKT reports

  • 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.

  • A challenging year becomes catalyst for growth: Key insights from the 2021 RIA Benchmarking Study

    The results from Schwab’s 2021 RIA Benchmarking Study highlight how firms continued to thrive and grow amid the global pandemic by adapting to challenges, innovating solutions, and staying focused on the client experience. The environment spurred accelerated adoption of digital practices. As they embraced new ways to connect with clients and prospects, firms maintained their level of client growth in 2020.

  • The value of a talent strategy: Compensation results from the 2021 RIA Benchmarking Study

    Using results from the 2021 RIA Benchmarking Study, this report provides a comprehensive look at compensation to help firms develop a strong compensation strategy and plan. Effective compensation planning serves as a primary tool for attracting, motivating, and retaining a firm's most important strategic asset—superior staff.

  • 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.

  • Leveraging centers of influence—Creating a successful COI program

    Establishing deep relationships with centers of influence (COIs) to drive high-quality referrals is critical to firm growth. This MKT examines how a structured approach to generating referrals from COIs can spur significant growth and superior results for RIA firms.

  • 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.

  • Internal succession planning—Transitioning employees to ownership

    A succession plan limits business risks while protecting—and potentially increasing—the value of the firm and an owner's ability to harvest their investment. This report examines key considerations and best practices for the most popular succession planning option: the transfer of ownership to an existing firm employee.

  • Transition planning—A guide to understanding valuation and deal structure

    With the growth and maturation of the RIA industry, valuation and succession planning are top of mind for firm owners. Most investment advisors want to know what their firm is really worth. This white paper addresses topics related to external sales or internal succession transactions. Learn about basic valuation methods, potential deal structures and their uses, and how the balance of risk and reward can ultimately affect the price of a business.

  • Best-Managed Firms: Client segmentation strategies—Optimizing client experience and firm performance

    This white paper provides a comprehensive overview of how client segmentation strategies can help RIAs serve a diverse client base while building a profitable and scalable business. Hear about best practices and strategies used by top-performing firms to help them create an optimal client experience, while also achieving their own business goals.

Other useful resources

  • Establishing an effective owner compensation plan

    This report explores the challenges firm owners experience when establishing a compensation plan. Learn best practices to help firm principals develop or refine existing owner compensation plans to match their firm’s unique needs.

  • Read more MKTs

    To see all previous reports, log in using your Schwab Advisor Center® credentials.

  • 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.