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Blueleaf names top custodians widely used by advisors

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More than one in five financial advisors use each of the top four custodians of securities and other financial assets, according to a new report.

Blueleaf, a Cambridge, Mass.-based provider of asset management tools for advisors, discloses this finding in a survey that explores advisors’ business goals and strategies, technology plans and goals, challenges and opportunities and growth plans for 2013. Of the advisors polled on the national online survey, 85.6 percent are registered investment advisors financial planners, broker-dealers or asset managers.

When asked which brokerage or financial institution their firms use, 26.5 percent said Charles Schwab, 23.2 percent said TD Ameritrade, 21.7 percent said Fidelity, and 20.4 percent said Pershing. Among the less frequently cited custodians:

  • National Financial Services — 10.3 percent;
  • Folio Institutional — 5.9 percent;
  • Trust Company of America — 5 percent;
  • Scottrade — 4.6 percent; and
  • State Street — 4.4 percent.

Advisors’ average AUM goal for 2013, the report adds, is between $25 million and $100 million, an AUM range cited by 21.3 percent of the respondents. Fewer respondents flagged AUM ranges of $101-$500 million (15.1 percent), $10-25 million (16.9 percent) and 5-10 million (13.8 percent).

Most advisors in the survey also express confidence that they will increase their revenues in 2013. Close to one-third are extremely confident (29.4 percent) or very confident (32.9 percent), while another 22.8 percent are somewhat confident.

Nearly half of advisors (48.1 percent) say they expect their biggest challenge in 2013 to be “client acquisition.” This is followed by marketing and differentiation (13.2 percent), technology and systems (9.6 percent), industry regulations (8.2 percent), increasing revenue with existing clients (6.3 percent), recruiting staff (4.8 percent) and client retention (4.1 percent).

Most of the survey respondents (68.2 percent) service fewer than 200 clients, and 39.7 percent service fewer than 50.