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Broker Report Card
2015 Broker Report Card: How National Brokerage Firms Stack Up

2015 Broker Report Card: How National Brokerage Firms Stack Up

How This Survey Was Conducted: Between Sept. 19 and Nov. 6, REP. magazine emailed invitations to participate in an online survey to print and web subscribers and advisors in the Meridian-IQ database at the six largest national brokerage firms. A total of 1,425 responses were received (Edward Jones: 113, Merrill Lynch: 115, Morgan Stanley: 104, Raymond James: 326, UBS: 252, and Wells Fargo Advisors: 515) and weighted. Brokers rated their current employer across almost 50 factors on a 1-to-10 scale, with 10 representing the highest level of satisfaction. More results from the survey can be found at 

An end to the seven-year bull market has sent a minor chill through the ranks of financial advisors working for the nation’s largest brokerage firms, as many report a slightly dimmer view of their employers than they did last year. 

REP.’s 25th annual Broker Report Card is the survey that lets advisors from the six major national brokerages rate their employers across a range of factors, from technology and research offerings, to compliance and sales support.

Overall, advisors gave the firms an average approval rating of 8.1, on a scale of one (lowest) to 10 (highest), down from 8.2 last year. 

This matters as national brokerage firms compete not only with each other, but with newer business models and support structures that can ease a path to an independent practice. When REP. magazine first began the broker report card in 1990, 56 percent of advisors worked for a national firm; today that number is 15 percent, according to Cerulli. 

Yet overall, large full-service firms continue to appeal. 83 percent of advisors said they were very likely to still be employed by their current firm in the next 12 months.

Among the others, about a third reported they would join another national firm. Just over 20 percent would join an independent broker/dealer, while 14 percent would look to a registered investment advisory. Only one in 10 were interested in joining a regional firm. 

Why? National brokerages are still attractive to clients with money. Advisors reported their average client had $1.34 million in investable assets; almost a third reported a total book of over $200 million in assets, up from one-in-four advisors who hit that mark last year. 

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