Wirehouses are working to regain lost market share by making major changes in the way they work with advisors, asset managers and investors, according to a research study just released Tuesday by Boston-based financial services consulting firm Financial Research Group (FRC).
The study conducted over the first quarter of 2011, “Reâ€Evaluating the Wirehouse Opportunity: Gatekeeper, Asset Manager, and Advisor Insights,” showed that wirehouses were pursuing “ transformative initiatives” after being battered by the credit crisis in 2008â€2009 and losing market share to registered investment advisors (RIAs) and regional brokers.
FRC’s study is based on a series of exclusive interviews with decision makers at each of the wirehouse firms—including Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo—who are responsible for selection of thirdâ€party fund managers and the construction of model portfolios.
“Conventional thinking has been bearish on the wirehouse industry, since they have been battered by bankruptcies and bailouts,” said Robert Martorana, author of the FRC study, in a statement. “But the outlook is brightening, as the wirehouses are reinventing their advisor strategies and portfolio construction to gain a bigger slice of the wealth management business.”
In BofA’s first-quarter 2011 earnings release on April 15, the bank’s wealth-management outlook did indeed appear brighter as higher asset management fees from the Merrill Lynch unit and investment banking fees as well as lower credit costs and gains from equity investments positively affected results. Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo are scheduled to report earnings on Wednesday.