To me, the most interesting event of the year, so far in the financial planning space, is the Schwab organization's new Independent Branch Services initiative. The cover article in my July newsletter gives a detailed examination of how it works, including an interview with Andrew Salesky, who is running it. But the gist of it is that Schwab's retail division is looking for experienced advisors to come in and transform their practices into Schwab branch offices on a franchise basis.
This is a serious initiative, a turn-key planning office that will be very appealing to experienced breakaway brokers who don't want to invent their own offices, and I can envision a lot of advisors -- people who have never really gotten the scale to be profitable -- deciding that this is their best career option. I expect that in two years, there will be hundreds of these offices; in three, Schwab could more than double its retail footprint (currently 306 offices).
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