It’s been another banner year for independent advisors as the industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The bull stock market, combined with assets pouring out of wirehouses, has driven AUM to new levels; by most counts, there are now more ensemble firms than one- and two-advisor shops; and a growing number of firms are somewhere in the process of transitioning the majority of industry AUM to successor advisors or outside firms.
Of course, it hasn’t been all good news. This growth has driven demand for young advisors so high that it’s almost impossible to find anyone to hire. Regulators (the SEC, FINRA, and the CFP Board), have largely been ignoring the Dodd-Frank mandate to bring broker regulation into line with RIA regulation, and instead, are launching various “crackdowns” on independent RIAs.