What is the purpose of the IMPACT Awards program?

Independent investment advisors have fundamentally changed the financial services landscape by providing client-centric, independent advice to affluent investors. Established in 2006 by Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (“Schwab”), the IMPACT Awards honor firms who have advanced the industry and have achieved success through exemplary business practices.

As a response to the integration of the independent investment advisor and independent retirement plan provider communities, an award was added in 2014 to recognize the unique achievements this group has brought to the retirement plan industry. In addition to the recognition, the awards program provides independent investment advisors and independent retirement plan providers with an opportunity to learn what leading firms are doing by sharing the winners’ best practices and achievements.

What are the IMPACT Awards categories?

Learn more about each IMPACT Award.

How many awards will be given?

One winner will be selected for each of the four awards.

Will the winner receive any prizes?

Winners of each award category will be honored at the ceremony, with each firm receiving a trophy and a $15,000 donation to a charitable organization of the winner’s choice. The selection of each winning firm’s charity is subject to Schwab’s approval.

Who is eligible for the IMPACT Awards?

Learn more about the eligibility requirements.

Does my firm need to have a relationship with Schwab to be eligible to be considered for an IMPACT Award?

Yes. Firms must use Charles Schwab, Charles Schwab Advisor Services or Charles Schwab Bank to custody client assets in order to be considered for an IMPACT Award.

How do you participate in the IMPACT Awards program?

We are no longer accepting nominations for this year's IMPACT Awards.

Is there a limit to how many nominations I can make?

We are no longer accepting nominations for this year's IMPACT Awards.

If I participated in previous years, can I participate again?

Yes, we encourage you to participate every year. However, Best-in-Business and Leadership Award winners will not be allowed to participate in any category for five years; previous Pacesetter Award winners may not participate in the Pacesetter IMPACT Award™ category again and must wait five years to participate in either of the other three award categories. Winners of the Best-in-Retirement Business IMPACT Award™ must wait five years before they are eligible for another award in any category.

Is there a fee to participate?

There are no fees to participate in the IMPACT Awards program.

Can I nominate my firm in more than one category?

Yes, you can nominate your firm once in each of the categories. However, multiple nominations for the same firm for the Best-in-Business IMPACT Award™, Best-in-Retirement Business IMPACT Award™, Pacesetter IMPACT Award™, or Trailblazer IMPACT Award™, are not permitted.

Am I able to provide supplemental materials in addition to the nomination form as part of my award nomination?

At the time of nomination, only a completed form will be accepted. Later in the process, Schwab may ask for additional information.

What if I do not complete the data requested on the nomination form?

All fields must be completed for a nomination to be accepted.

May I submit my nomination via regular mail?

No. Only nominations received through the nomination form will be accepted.

May my firm use a previously published case study to fulfill the essay portion of the Best-in-Business IMPACT Award™, Best-in-Retirement Business IMPACT Award™, Pacesetter IMPACT Award™, or Trailblazer IMPACT Award™ nomination?

Nominations may include previously produced content that is owned by the firm. However, information that is copyrighted by another source cannot be used.

What are the program deadlines?

Nominations will be accepted May 8–June 20, 2014.

When will the winners of the IMPACT Awards be announced?

The IMPACT Awards will be presented at IMPACT 2014, a leading industry conference taking place November 4–7 in Denver, CO. Information about the winners will be posted online after they are announced at the conference.

How will winners be notified?

Winners will be notified in September via phone call. Winners will be announced at the IMPACT Awards ceremony at IMPACT 2014.

Will runners-up be announced?

Only one winner for each category will be announced. No runners-up will be selected.

How will winners be selected?

Entries will be reviewed to ensure that they meet all eligibility requirements and Schwab criteria. The remaining finalists will then be judged by a distinguished panel of leaders from across the business world and financial services industry who understand the challenges and opportunities facing today’s investors and those who serve them. These judges will convene to review finalist nominations and select the winners in each category. Final selection will be subject to acceptance of the IMPACT Awards Terms & Conditions and final approval by Schwab. In granting its final approval, Schwab will be guided by the criteria for the IMPACT Awards Program, and will also consider which candidates best exemplify the prestige and purpose of the awards and reflect Schwab’s reputation in the marketplace for integrity, service and value. Schwab has absolute discretion in approving the winners, and Schwab’s decisions in all matters related to the awards and the IMPACT Awards Program are final.

What criteria will be used to decide the winners?

Nominations for the 2014 IMPACT Awards will be evaluated based on the firm’s ability to demonstrate success in the following areas:

Best-in-Business IMPACT Award™

  • Business Planning
  • Technology Strategy
  • Practice Management and Employee Development
  • Client Loyalty

Best-in-Retirement Business IMPACT Award™

  • Business planning in the retirement industry
  • Technology strategy in the retirement industry
  • Practice management and employee development
  • Client loyalty

Pacesetter IMPACT Award™
Demonstrated accelerated growth in tandem with the following:

  • Business Planning
  • Technology Strategy
  • Practice Management and Employee Development
  • Client Loyalty

Trailblazer IMPACT Award™
Demonstrated change in helping the industry reach new heights, for example:

  • Focused on understanding the unique needs of a specific client segment and developed an innovative approach to serving them (i.e., a new business model, marketing strategy or strategic plan)
  • Made a difference in their community though programs to educate new audiences about financial planning
  • Helped shape the industry’s future through advocacy efforts in Washington or involvement with industry associations
  • Made strides in attracting and cultivating the RIA industry’s next generation of talent
  • Awards and/or other Distinctions
How will Schwab use the information provided through the nomination forms?

Information you provide will be used to review and judge your nomination for the IMPACT Awards program. Schwab and the judging panel will maintain the confidentiality of your nomination. Schwab will not sell information collected. See the IMPACT Awards Terms & Conditions for more information.

How will objectivity be maintained in the selection process?

Schwab will use the eligibility criteria to review all nominations received. Once Schwab confirms the finalists, a judging panel of industry experts will select the winners for all four awards. All IMPACT Awards winners are subject to Schwab’s final approval.