Brooke’s Note: What every RIA conference organizer wants is to deliver a high-profile speaker with something fresh to say about the business that they’re in. This is as rare as rain in California during July. With Charles Goldman, SSG also gets someone who hasn’t spoken publicly for years and who is not afraid to offer outspoken views. This sounds like a coup and just at a point where the La Jolla-based custodian is gaining critical mass.

In his first public appearance since departing Fidelity Investments, Charles Goldman will speak to 300 RIAs at the first national conference of Shareholders Service Group in San Diego at a conference that runs February 29 to March 2, 2012.

The former president of Fidelity Investments custody and clearing and former head of Schwab Institutional will not only enlighten the audience, mostly composed of mostly emerging RIAs, but he could have a significant effect upon its emerging asset custodian. See: A small RIA custodian in San Diego faces a new challenge: accelerating growth [updated].

“It’s a branding moment for SSG; it’ll put their brand on the map,” says Tim Welsh, principal of Nexus Strategy of Larkspur, Calif.

Skiles connection

Attracting a big name — someone who is part of the industry and who hasn’t been heard from a while — can be attributed to Dan Skiles of Shareholders Service Group Inc., Welsh adds. See: Charles Goldman is seeking his game after tumult and a year of decompression.

Skiles was Goldman’s chief of technology at Schwab and the two men are longtime friends. Skiles himself put SSG on the map. See: How Schwab’s top tech executive for RIAs ended up with a fledgling competitor.

Goldman says in an e-mail that he is looking forward to giving the speech and hearing from the advisors.

“It is a chance to interact with a large group of advisors and to hear how they see the current environment. My talk will focus on two topics: first, I will share my thoughts on the state of the industry and the key issues that we will be facing over the next several years. Second, Dan Skiles asked me to talk about some of the key lessons I’ve learned over the years on building a successful client focused businesses. I am looking forward to engaging in a discussion of these topics and what ever else advisors are interested in talking about. I am also excited about teaming up with my old colleague Greg Valliere.”

The event also boasts a number of other familiar names in RIA circles including: Greg Valliere, chief strategist at the Potomac Research Group; Spenser Segal, CEO of ActiFi, Inc. Lou Stanasolovich, founder and CEO of Legend Financial Advisors; Bob Veres, editor of Inside Information, Norm Boone and Linda Lubitz Boone, co-founders of IPS AdvisorPro Bryce James, founder and president of SmartPortfolios; and Sheryl Rowling, CEO of Total Rebalance Expert.

The agenda was created based on advisor feedback, according to Barry Boyte, executive vice president of marketing, at SSG in a release.

“We surveyed more than 900 [advisors] over the past year national conference, and we received an overwhelming number of responses about the topics advisors are interested in,” he says. “Based upon the suggestions of RIAs, we developed an agenda that focuses on education, specifically in areas in which advisors can grow their client base, make better investing decisions and manage their businesses more effectively. Advisors are excited about attending our conference in San Diego.”

A select few

The SSG Conference is looking for exhibitors and sponsors but participation will be limited to just 30 firms to help maintain a high ratio of sponsors to RIA attendees, according to the company.

Shareholders Service Group began serving independent RIAs in 2002 and currently serves over 900 advisory firms throughout the country. The management team began serving independent RIAs in the late 1980s, first at discount broker Jack White & Company, then at TD Waterhouse in 1998, upon its acquisition of Jack White. See: A peek inside the rising RIA custodians fighting to overtake the Big Four.

Can you top this?

Since leaving Fidelity, Goldman has served on both the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and on the board of the Foundation for Financial Planning — a charity that raises money from people in the RIA industry, including planners and custodians, and then uses its planners helping people in real need or crisis.

Though getting Goldman to speak is a coup for SSG, it does leave the fledgling RIA custodian with a problem for its 2013 conference.

“The only drawback is: how are you going to top it in year two?” Welsh asks.