Despite this year's arduous business environment, independent RIAs remain optimistic, according to the results of Charles Schwab's 2009 RIA Benchmarking Study. In fact, 84% of advisers surveyed expect to grow moderately or faster over the next five years, with 35% predicting aggressive growth and 49% seeing growth at a more modest pace looking forward.

Advisers expect three main aspects of their business to be integral to their growth over the next five years: closing the deal after meeting with a prospect (75%), maintaining quality and consistency in their client relationships as they add more clients (73%) and implementing new technologies that will automate processes and build scalability (67%).

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