The move to independence is stronger than ever – with more firms going independent in the past five years, according to a new data analysis from Schwab Advisor Services.
Schwab Advisor Services analyzed 2016 Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) registration data and found that the number of advisors who entered the independent space – as RIAs – showed strong momentum.
According to the data, new registrations at the SEC level grew by 75% since 2012, from 114 new RIA firms to 199 new firms in 2016. In 2013 there were 150 new registrations, followed by 131 new registrations in 2014 and 189 in 2015.
Firms established in 2016 represent nearly $55 billion in assets under management, according to the data.
According to Jonathan Beatty, senior vice president and head of sales and relationship management, Schwab Advisor Services has been tracking this data internally for about four or five years.
“[We] thought it was a good timing to start to share it externally,” he told ThinkAdvisor.
According to Beatty, advisors are choosing independence “for the purposes of choice and flexibility and how they serve their clients.”
“As they see the architecture around them becoming less flexible, they look out and they see the opportunity of independence,” he explained.
This year’s data shows that large firms are increasingly prominent in fueling the independence movement.