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WITH ECONOMIC OPTIMISM AT A FIVE-YEAR HIGH, RIAS GET SET TO GROW IN 2014New TD Ameritrade Institutional Advisor Index Study finds regulatory issues top list of concerns, while client referrals and technology offer best growth opportunities
Independent registered investment advisors (“RIAs”), buoyed by strong market and client growth last year, say it’s full steam ahead for their businesses and the economy in 2014, according to new findings from the latest TD Ameritrade Institutional Advisor Index Survey.
After a year of robust market growth, independent advisors are feeling good. RIAs report revenues were up roughly 20 percent at the end of 2013, and assets under management averaged 20 percent growth as well. More than two thirds of advisors said their client base increased by an average of 13 percent.
They are also more optimistic about the U.S. economy than they have been in five years, fueling confidence about their own businesses. Bolstered by referral networks and technology investments, three-fourths of RIAs predict firm assets under management will grow at least as fast as 2013, with 30 percent expecting growth at a 31 percent faster clip, on average.
“After another year of double-digit growth on all fronts, advisors have renewed energy and enthusiasm about their prospects,” said Tom Nally, president of TD Ameritrade Institutional. “They’re building on last year’s momentum and serving clients better by making strategic investments in their people and their technology.”
Just over half of new client assets came to RIAs from full-commission brokerage firms in 2013. More personalized service and competitive fee-structure is the number one reason clients chose to move to an independent RIA, according to survey respondents.
Heading into 2014, 38 percent of RIAs expect the stock market to continue its upward trajectory and 46 percent say it will remain the same. But advisors are less enthused about the historically low-yielding bond market. More than half say the bond market should stay the course over the next three months, though 41 percent believe bond prices will start to fall in a period when interest rates are widely expected to begin rising.