i About the RIA Benchmarking Study
Schwab designed this study to capture insights in the RIA industry, based on survey responses from individual firms. The 2013 study provides information on topics such as asset and revenue growth, sources of new clients, products and pricing, staffing, marketing, technology, and financial performance.
Since the inception of the study in 2006, more than 2,500 firms have participated, with many repeat participants. A total of 1,025 advisory firms representing nearly half a trillion dollars in AUM that custody their assets with Schwab participated this year, making this the leading study in the RIA industry.
The RIA Benchmarking Study comprises self-reported data from advisory firms that custody their assets with Schwab. Participant firms represent various sizes and business models. They are categorized into 12 peer groups—6 wealth manager groups and 6 money manager groups, by AUM size.The study is part of Schwab's Business Consulting Services, a practice management offering for RIAs. Grounded in the best practices of leading independent advisory firms, Business Consulting Services provides insight, guidance, tools, and resources to help RIAs strategically manage and grow their firm. Unless otherwise noted, study results shown are for firms with $250 million or more in AUM, representing the vast majority of total assets managed by this year’s participants. Independent investment advisors are not owned, affiliated with or supervised by Schwab. ii All firms in the study that manage $250 million or more in assets were examined as a group with regards to their AUM compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the 3-year period from 2010 through 2012. Firms with a historical 3-year AUM CAGR of 15 percent or greater—representing both market performance and organic growth—are projected to double in size by the end of 2014 if they continue on the same growth trajectory they experienced from 2010 through 2012. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. From 2010 through 2012, the 3-year asset-allocated CAGR was 6.3 percent at the median. iii The fastest-growing firms are the top 20 percent of firms as determined by 2012 net organic growth. This cohort includes 90 firms out of 451, all of which have $250 million or more in AUM. Net organic growth—the change in assets from existing clients, new clients, and assets lost to client attrition—is the area over which RIAs have most control. Thus, it is the growth metric used for the analysis.