Schwab's Independent Advisor Outlook Study: Spring 2023

Charles Schwab recently released their Spring 2023 Independent Advisor Outlook Study, conducted with Logica Research. The study surveyed Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) on a range of topics related to their businesses and current state of the financial industry. Results of the study were covered in articles from, Financial Advisor IQ, FinancialPlanning, and Think Advisor.

Independent Advisors are Optimistic about the Future

AAs noted in Wealth Management, the study found that RIAs are optimistic about the future—along with recognizing the challenges that come with growth. As Think Advisor mentions, advisors who are able to adapt and innovate have a good future ahead especially with more digital tools, automation, personalization and increased industry diversity.

Focus on Growth and Innovation

Financial Advisor IQ explored the study’s topic of growth and innovation for Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs)—and the potential drawbacks of too much growth. Growth is often seen as a positive thing for RIAs as it can lead to increased revenue and market share. However this article, “Growth Not Entirely a Good Thing, RIAs Say,” suggests that rapid growth can also present challenges such as increased operational complexity, dilution of the firm’s culture and values and potentially a decline in the quality of service. The article emphasizes the importance of balancing growth with the ability to maintain high levels of client service and satisfaction. It also suggests that RIAs should focus on sustainable growth strategies that allow for controlled expansion while maintaining the firm’s core values and culture.

Rise in Values and Culture

As noted in Wealth Management’s article “’Cultural Cues’ From Schwab’s Spring 2023 Independent Advisor Outlook Study,” the study highlights the importance of understanding cultural cues in serving clients—as well as the benefits of utilizing technology and digital tools to improve client experiences. notes that the Schwab Independent Advisor Outlook Study also found that RIAs are concerned about and maintaining the firm’s culture and values as they grow along with quality of their services and managing operational complexity.


Challenges Noted for RIAs

The Wealth Management article shares that RIAs are thinking about the challenges of managing client expectations, maintaining client relationships and finding new clients in a highly competitive industry. Think Advisor also shares from the study that regulatory changes and evolving client expectations will continue to shape the industry over the next few years.


The Independent Advisor Outlook Study (IAOS) is conducted for Charles Schwab by Logica Research. The current survey wave consisted of a quantitative online survey and qualitative interviews. The quantitative survey, conducted from December 1 through December 15, 2022, polled 862 independent investment advisors who custody assets with Schwab Advisor Services, representing a total of $359 billion in assets under management (AUM). Participation was voluntary, participants were not incentivized and the typical (median) survey length was 15 minutes. Qualitative interviews were conducted with eight industry subject matter experts: three Schwab Advisor Services leaders and five third-party participants. Participants in these interviews provided their own perspectives on industry trends and issues. 

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