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11 Trends Affecting RIAs Now, for Better or Worse

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The number of RIA M&A deals and valuations continues to remain strong in 2022 amid a volatile market environment, but RIA firms face challenges that include rising costs and a talent shortage, Mark Tibergien — ex-Pershing Advisor Solutions CEO and a judge for ThinkAdvisor’s LUMINARIES awards program — and other industry experts said Tuesday, during a wealth management trends webinar sponsored by the public relations firm JConnelly.

Every industry starts with fragmentation, then consolidation, followed by integration and expansion, Tibergien said, adding: “We’re still very much in the fragmentation phase” when it comes to the RIA sector.

Kicking off the webinar, moderator Scott Slater, vice president at Fidelity Institutional, said: “I think we are officially in a bear market environment, although who knows? The last two days kind of seemed to turn things around again. But two days don’t make a market yet.”

“It’s certainly been a difficult year for our clients,” said Raj Bhattacharyya, CEO of Robertson Stephens, an RIA that focuses on high-net-worth investors.

But Bhattacharyya was quick to add: “I think it’s important to remember that we’ve been in scarier times in the recent past,” including in 2008, when “the future of the entire financial system globally was at risk; that was scary and we recovered from that.” There was also the dot-com bust in 2000, he noted.

Traditional 60/40 portfolios have fared poorly amid the market volatility. But “it’s important to put the current situation in context,” Bhattacharyya said. “We’ve been here before, and what’s important to remember is in every one of these situations, a properly constructed portfolio managed by an advisor, the client’s wealth plan has stood the test of time.”

“In terms of trends that are happening in the industry, you can almost say that the more things change the more they stay the same,” Peter Nesvold, a partner at Republic Capital Group, said.

Check out the gallery to see what these industry experts cited as 11 top RIA sector trends.