the RIA Surge?
BY ELLEN UZELAC
The shifting thought processes underlying registered
The RIA channel contin- ues to surge—but what is most notable are the new entrants to the space. It’s
not just top-dollar breakaway brokers who are driving the trend but
Gen Y advisors who see opportunity in a structure where they can
be most nimble.
“A few years ago we may have
handled 20 startups a year. Now,
it’s not uncommon for us to have
that many in a month,” notes Mary
Harris-King, president of Compre-
hensive Securities Compliance So-
lutions, a consulting firm in Seattle.
“Many are breakaways but that
doesn’t account for all of the new
applications. We see many people
who are new to the industry, either
just beginning their careers or mak-
ing a shift from a different industry.
We’re working with people in their
20s and people in their 70s and old-
er,” she adds. “It’s interesting to see
how broad the pool has become.”
Also pushing the trend: account-
ing firms that want to add an invest-
New estimates from Cerulli
Associates suggest that the asset
market-share of RIAs, along with
the dually registered space, stood
collectively at 22% in 2013. Wire-
houses can claim almost double that
but their piece of the pie has been in
an almost steady decline since 2007,
according to the firm’s research.
“Wirehouses are the monoliths of
the industry—there are still a lot of
assets there, but RIAs are growing,
largely at their expense,” says Cerulli’s Bing Waldert. “This also represents a threat to the independent
broker-dealer channel. That’s why