Fee compression, regulation, succession planning, technology—the more things change, the more they stay the same for the 58 leaders of independent broker-dealers we questioned exclusively for our annual survey.
Click here for a by-the-numbers comparison of the respondents over the past three years.
1. What issue do you feel is the most challenging to your firm business-wise in the short term (next 18 months)?
We should have asked they be more specific with “other,” although it’s nice that the size of the debt is such a small percentage of broker-dealer concerns. Color us unsurprised that the top concern is “regulatory uncertainty/increased compliance costs.” A new SEC chief, the reintroduction of the DOL’s fiduciary proposal (see Phyllis Borzi’s extended profile from the 2013 IA 25 on AdvisorOne.com), Dodd-Frank’s ongoing implementation, the health care law—it could easily be “death by a thousand cuts.”
2. What issues do you feel are the most challenging to your firm business-wise in the long term (next three to five years and beyond)?
“Dealing with margin squeeze” overwhelmingly took the top spot, but might there be a connection between that and the second biggest challenge, “keeping technology up to date”? Combine the two and you have something. “One of the biggest trends I see in the next 10 years is the interconnectivity of advice and information overall,” Michael Kitces, director of research for Pinnacle Advisory Group and one of this year’s IA 25 honorees, said. Key to that interconnectivity is technology.