Charles Schwab is offering another way for RIAs and advisors with independent broker-dealers to go independent and serve mass-affluent clients. Schwab, which has 300 retail branches, says its Independent Branch Services program will extend its reach into markets that align with its core customer base, but where Schwab does not have offices, says Andrew Salesky, a Schwab senior vice president. "We're hoping to bring this to markets where the nearest branch is over 75 miles away," he says. The program is not a grab for more affluent clients, so advisors will continue to focus on households with $250,000 to $1 million in investable assets. By late June, Schwab had already fielded about 200 franchise proposals. The company hopes to open five to 10 new Schwab offices a year.

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