RIA Rising

Making money the old-fashioned way

RIAs polled in today’s Charles Schwab benchmarking study still seem focused on the basics.

When asked in February and March what the top enablers to growth were, 80 percent of the 820 advisors in the survey checked off the answer, “Maintaining quality client service with growth.” That also was the top answer when Schwab raised the question in its last RIA benchmarking study a year ago (polling 77 percent then.)

Among the other solutions for growing business, in the RIAs’ view: “Closing new business” (77 percent); “Delivering investment returns” (70 percent); “Implementing new technology” (69 percent); “Adapting operations for efficiency” (63 percent); “Providing access to investment opportunities” (58 percent).

Perhaps what’s telling is what’s not among the top six replies. Nothing on using social media. Nothing about hiring more staff or bringing in more advisors. (Does that conflict with, “Adapting operations for efficiency?”) And nothing about mergers and acquisitions.

For the record, the median firm in the survey had 186 clients, $212 million in assets under management, and $1.3 million in annual revenue. Of all RIAs polled, 75 had AUM of $1 billion or more.

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