A Wells Fargo branch (Photo: Bloomberg)
9th place. AMERIPRISE FINANCIAL — Earnings $462 million, UP 17.5% | EPS $3.10, UP 24% | Advisor headcount 9,906, UP 266. Ameriprise headquarters in Minneapolis.
8th place. JP MORGAN — Earnings $8.32 billion, UP 18% | EPS $2.29, UP 26% | Wealth advisor headcount 2,644, UP 192. JPMorgan building in New York. (Photo: AP)


7th place. RAYMOND JAMES — Earnings $232 million, UP 27% | EPS $1.55, UP 25% | Advisor headcount 7,719, UP 434. Raymond James CEO Paul Reilly.
6th place. BANK of AMERICA — Earnings $6.78 billion, UP 33% | EPS $0.63, UP 43% | Advisor headcount 14,820, UP 70. BofA CEO Brian Moynihan. (Photo: AP)
5th place. MORGAN STANLEY — Earnings $2.43 billion, UP 39% | EPS $1.30, UP 49% | Advisor headcount 15,632, DOWN 145. Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman. (Photo: Bloomberg)
4th place. GOLDMAN SACHS — Earnings $2.57 billion, UP 40% | EPS $5.98, UP 51% | Private wealth group sales of $1.84 billion, UP 20%. David Solomon, president and CEO of Goldman Sachs. (Photo: Bloomberg)
3rd place. STIFEL FINANCIAL — Earnings $84.9 million, UP 68% | EPS $1.07, UP 62% | Advisor headcount 2,267, DOWN 10. Stifel CEO Ronald Kruszewski. (Photo: Bloomberg)


2nd place. LPL FINANCIAL — Earnings $119 million, UP 74% | EPS $1.30, UP 66% | Affiliated financial advisors 16,049, UP 1,793. LPL CEO Dan Arnold.
BEST: 1st place. WADDELL & REED — Earnings $44.5 million, UP 85% | EPS $0.55, UP 90% | Advisor headcount 1,130, DOWN 451. Waddell & Reed headquarters in Shawnee Mission, Kansas.

(Related: A Timeline of Wells Fargo’s Scandals)

Most sectors of the U.S. economy had a stellar second quarter, with about 80% of S&P 500 companies reporting positive earnings surprises.

Plus, the earnings surprises averaged 25%, the second-highest level since the third quarter of 2010, according to FactSet, which recently shared data on firms reporting second-quarter earnings through Aug. 10.

In addition, there was a 3% beat on the sales side, with year-over-year revenue rising 10% on average.

As for the financial sector, its earnings rose 21% on average in the quarter. Of these firms, 64% reported earnings that topped estimates.

In the broker-dealer space, the average earnings-per-share increase in the March-to-June quarter was 38%, and net income improved an average of 35%, according to figures complied by ThinkAdvisor.

Several of the 12 firms highlighted in this slideshow had a notable turnaround in their performance, rising up in the ranks in the quarter.

In terms of stock performance, the iShares U.S. Broker-Dealer ETF (IAI) is up about 3.6% this year, while the iShares U.S. Financial Services ETF (IYG) has improved nearly 5% through Aug. 24 vs. 7% for the S&P 500.

Only one firm posted negative earnings growth in the most recent quarter.

As for what’s next, Stifel Financial Chairman and CEO Ronald Kruszewski said in a statement: “Barring a significant change in market conditions in the second half of the year, we expect that increases in investment banking and recruiting activity … will lead to improved results vs. the first half of the year.”

All figures cited in the slideshow reflect year-over-year changes in performance.

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