Happy days are here again — sort of.
New research from two well-known market metric firms, Aite Group and Cerulli Associates, finds the RIA channel is once again the fastest growing segment of the wealth management space.
Aite found the industry as a whole had “finally caught up to its pre-crisis asset levels,” yet sounded a note of caution.
“Though 2012 ended on a positive note for wealth management, with firms regaining speed in the form of net new money inflows, the U.S. wealth management industry is not out of the woods yet,” according to the report. “The first signs of better times are apparent in leading wealth management firms’ recent quarterly results, but the industry still relies heavily on external factors, and regulatory change could still substantially alter the rules of the game.”
It will be some time before the “dust settles,” the report adds, around the makeup of the post-crisis wealth management industry and its future business model.
Aite went on to list the winner and losers in garnering assets in 2012. While the wirehouse channel still retained 37% of total industry assets, it represented a 0.7% decrease from the year before. Both fully disclosed and self-clearing retail brokerages followed, with 16% and 15% of industry assets respectively, representing a 0.3% and 0.2% decrease from 2011. Independent RIAs rang in with 13% of total industry assets, representing a 0.9% increase. Discount and online brokerage rounded out the list with 19% of industry assets and a 0.3% increase from 2011.
In a related note, Cerulli found that boutiques firms “bring addressability to the RIA space.”