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RIA Edge 100: Growth by Design, Not by Default

Wealth Management IQ and ISS Market Intelligence (ISS MI) have compiled a list of RIAs growing fast while keeping sight of their priorities: the client experience and the sustainability of the business.

Since the Great Financial Crisis, up until very recently, “growing” a fee-based registered investment advisory firm was eased thanks to years of ever-rising equity markets and an equally long period of near-zero interest rates. RIAs that charge clients a percentage of managed assets could “grow” without doing much at all.

Most wealth management executives aren’t satisfied with that. They understand that growth—above and beyond market appreciation—is essential to maintain superior service for increasingly demanding wealth management clients. Backing that service with a healthy, well-structured business is even more important as broader financial conditions tighten.

Of course, some firms are better at maintaining the quality of the client experience and the health of the company while continuing to rapidly add assets.’s RIA Edge 100 list is an attempt to identify those firms.

The list was developed by's WMIQ research team in partnership with ISS MI using data from its Discovery Data MarketPro platform. Qualifying firms were limited to SEC-registered investment advisory firms that provide financial planning services, have high-net-worth individuals as more than half of their client base and manage at least $500 million in assets. Analyzing that subset of RIAs, WMIQ ranked firms by several other metrics, including AUM growth over both one- and five-year periods, the ratio of employees to total clients, the percentage of employees with the CFP certification and average client account size, among other factors.

Each metric was given an equal weighting and, on balance, is intended to give a clear picture of firm growth as it relates to client service and internal talent. RIA Edge 100 firms are those with the most impressive growth rates combined with the best employee-to-client ratios and highest CFP certifications.

The RIA Edge 100 is not a ranking. Nor is it a subjective “best advisor” list based on business relationships, influencer status or social media popularity. It is not meant to be a static list—as we continue to refine the metrics, ratios and weightings we use, the names here may change. Firms cannot apply for the list, nor is there a cost to be included. 

Rather, the RIA Edge 100 was designed to surface a premier group of well-managed firms that are reinvesting in their businesses, maintaining a high level of client service and continuing to grow by design, not by default.

(Data from FORM ADVs as of Nov. 2023. AUM growth data as of 1/1/2023 to make accurate cross-firm comparisons.)
*Laird Norton Wealth Management and Wetherby Asset management have since combined, now operating as Laird Norton Wetherby.
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