12. Bank of New York Mellon | Client assets: $239B | AUM: $239B | Advisor count: 1,100 | Client Assets per Advisor: $217.3M (Photo: Shutterstock)
11. Stifel Nicolaus| Client assets: $270B | AUM: $90B | Advisor count: 2,300 | Client Assets per Advisor: $117.3M Stifel CEO Ronald Kruszewski. (Photo: Bloomberg)
10. Goldman Sachs | Client assets: $455B | AUM: $455B | Advisor count: N/A | Client Assets per Advisor: N/A

Goldman purchased United Capital for $750 million in May to expand beyond the private client business. (Photo: AP)
9. LPL Financial | Client assets: $456B | AUM: $282B | Advisor count: 16,100 | Client Assets per Advisor: $28.3M

LPL acquired AdvisoryWorld, which has a suite of digital tools used by 30,000 advisors, in December 2018 for $28 million. LPL CEO Dan Arnold.
Ameriprise | Client assets: $539B | AUM: $251B | Advisor count: 9,900 | Client Assets per Advisor: $54.4M Ameriprise headquarters in Minneapolis. (Photo: Bloomberg)

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8. Citi | Client assets: $618B | AUM: $618B | Advisor count: 1,100 | Client Assets per Advisor: $561.8M Citigroup headquarters in New York (Photo: AP)
7. Raymond James | Client assets: $691B | AUM: $339B | Advisor count: 7,800 | Client Assets per Advisor: $88.6M (Photo: Shutterstock)
6. Northern Trust | Client assets: $913B | AUM: $279B | Advisor count: 2,300 | Client Assets per Advisor: $397.1M

Northern Trust built out alternative investment and analytics capabilities through Arcline, intended to help clients choose private investments. (Photo: Shutterstock)
5. Edward Jones | Client assets: $1,103B | AUM: $334B | Advisor count: 17,600 | Client Assets per Advisor: $62.7M (Photo: Shutterstock)
4. Wells Fargo | Client assets: $1,488B | AUM: $501B | Advisor count: 14,000 | Client Assets per Advisor: $106.3M (Photo: Bloomberg)

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3. JPMorgan Chase | Client assets: $1,787B | AUM: $1,061B | Advisor count: 2,900| Client Assets per Advisor: $616.3M (Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan. (Photo: Bloomberg)
2. Bank of America Merrill Lynch | Client assets: $2,194B | AUM: $1,021B | Advisor count: 17,500 | Client Assets per Advisor: $125.3M

The firm rebranded some businesses: U.S. Trust became BofA Private Bank. Merrill Lynch Private Banking and Investment Group is now Merrill Private Wealth Management. The collective wealth management unit will be called Merrill. (Photo: AP)
1. Morgan Stanley | Client assets: $2,303B | AUM: $1,046B | Advisor count: 15,700 | Client Assets per Advisor: $146.7M

Morgan Stanley acquired Solium Capital last February for a reported $900 million, expanding its wealth management capabilities. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The 25 top global wealth management firms controlled $22.2 trillion in client assets at the end of 2018, an amount up 14% since 2014, according to a study by Aite Group. For comparison, the S&P 500 grew 49% during the same period while the MSCI World Index grew 10%, Aite stated.

The top 10 firms’ average growth from 2014 through 2018 was 3.7%, while over the same period, the bottom 15 firms, with less than $700 billion in client assets, averaged a yearly growth rate of 5.5%, Aite found.

As most of the business by these firms is done in North America (66%), we are focusing on the top 12 U.S.-based firms here, which had $13 trillion of client assets. The next largest grouping were Swiss banks with $4.6 trillion, Canada with $1.8 trillion and Japan with $1.6 trillion.

Aite also found in its study that major regulations have impacted the wealth management business model, including pushing cost-to-income ratios to undesirable levels. It appears larger firms are affected more than small firms.

Also, not surprisingly, wealth management firms are digitizing their businesses, mainly to enhance the customer experience.

The firms were measured by client assets per firm, defined as discretionary and advisory assets under management as well as non discretionary brokerage assets and non discretionary assets that are held in custody-only accounts for private clients. Measurement also included assets under management, number of financial advisors, asset growth and regional distribution of assets.

Here are the top 12 U.S.-based wealth management firms in which we list client assets under management, AUM (sometimes the same as client assets), advisor count and client assets per advisors. Some also include strategic developments per Aite’s findings.

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