The ranked performance of the largest broker-dealers in Q2'20 was greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the largest banks raised their loan loss provisions for the second quarter in a row. Click through the gallery to see how they compared. (Photo: Shutterstock)

WORST: 13th place.

LOST $2.4 billion in Q2'20, or $0.66 per share, vs. a profit of $6.2 billion, or $1.30 per share, a year ago | Employee advisor headcount 13,298, DOWN 425 from Q2'19. | Wells Fargo branch in New York (Photo: Bloomberg)

12th place.

LOST $539 million, or $4.31 per share in Q2'20 vs. profits of $492 million, or $3.57 per share, a year ago | 9,894 franchisee/employee advisors, DOWN 57. | (Photo: AP)

11th place.

Revised earnings $373 billion, which reflect a $2 billion jump in litigation reserves tied to its role in Malaysia's 1MDB investment fund scandal. DOWN 85% | EPS $0.53, DOWN 91% | Wealth management revenues (including Personal Financial Management, previously United Capital) $1.1 billion, UP 7% | (Photo: AP)

10th place.

Earnings $1.3 billion, DOWN 73% | EPS $0.50, DOWN 74% | Private bank revenues $956 million, UP 10%. | (Photo: AP)


9th place.

Earnings $3.53 billion, DOWN 52% | EPS $0.37, DOWN 50% | Merrill headcount 17,888, UP 380 from a year ago. | Bank of America building (Photo: AP)

8th place.

Earnings $4.7 billion, DOWN 51% | EPS $1.38, DOWN 51% | Wealth advisor headcount 2,869, UP 134 from Q2'19. | JPMorgan Sign on a building in New York. (Photo: AP)

7th place.

Earnings $172 million, DOWN 34% | EPS $1.23, DOWN 32% | Advisor headcount 8,155, UP 251. | Raymond James CEO Paul Reilly.

6th place.

Earnings $24.8 million, DOWN 27% | EPS $0.38, DOWN 16% | Advisor and associate headcount 1,344 DOWN 30 from a year ago | Waddell & Reed headquarters in Shawnee Mission, Kansas.

5th place.

Earnings $102 million, DOWN 30% | EPS $1.27, DOWN 26% | Advisor headcount 16,973, UP 812 from a year ago. | LPL CEO Dan Arnold.


4th place.

Earnings $1.23 billion, DOWN 11% | EPS $0.33, DOWN 43% | Advisor headcount-Americas 6,410, DOWN 279. | A UBS building in New York (Photo: Bloomberg)

3rd place.

Earnings $108 million, DOWN 1% | EPS $1.39, UP 6% | Advisor headcount 2,232 UP 39 from a year ago | Stifel CEO Ronald Kruszewski. (Photo: Bloomberg)

2nd place.

Earnings $256.8 million, UP 15% | EPS $1.40, UP 13% | Total wealth management assets $136 billion, UP 13% from a year ago | First Republic Bank branch in New York (Photo: Bloomberg)

BEST: 1st place.

Earnings $3.2 billion, UP 45% | EPS $1.96, UP 59% | Advisor headcount 15,399, DOWN 234. | Morgan Stanley's New York headquarters (Photo: Bloomberg)

In the second quarter of 2020, one bank  which owns one of the four wirehouse broker-dealers  set aside nearly $10.5 billion for credit losses, while another had provisions of close to $9.6 billion for potential loan losses, more the doubling the $3.8 billion it put aside in the prior quarter.

The two firms, though, reported dramatically different profits for the period ending June 30.

According to FactSet, the broader financial sector reported the fourth-largest year-over-year earnings decline of all 11 industry sectors as of July 31: -53%, which — if the figure remains at this level after all firms report Q2 2020 earnings — would represent the biggest earnings drop for banks and other financial firms since Q4 2008.

By segment, the largest declines have been in consumer finance (-118%), banking (-77%) and insurance (-38%). Capital markets (+10%) is the sole segment reporting year-over-year earnings growth for the quarter so far, FactSet says.

About a week after FactSet released its analysis, Goldman Sachs revised its second-quarter results to reflect the fact that the bank had increased its litigation reserves by some $2 billion in order to help it resolve probes over its role in Malaysia’s 1MDB investment fund scandal. This pushed it out of the third-best spot.

FA Headcount, Assets

Overall, the four wirehouses — Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, UBS and Wells Fargo — saw their combined headcount shrink by 558 financial advisors over the past 12 months. They now have a total of 52,995 advisors in the Americas, and these FAs work with $8.4 trillion of client assets.

The other non-wirehouse broker-dealers tracked by ThinkAdvisor — and that publicly disclose their respective headcounts — have a total of 41,467 advisors. Four of the largest — LPL Financial, Ameriprise Financial, Raymond James and Stifel — have combined client assets of nearly $2.6 trillion. — Related on ThinkAdvisor: