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Making choices, finding growth: State of North American retail wealth management

The market-performance tailwinds that have propelled North American financial advisors for the past several years subsided. Advisors still posted record-high revenues in 2018.

Financial advisors at North American wealth-management companies grew revenues to a record high in 2018. Remarkably, they did so without the market-performance tailwinds that have propelled them for the past several years. They achieved this by attracting more new clients and by increasing their services to existing clients. Many advisors found growth by managing the demographics of their books and by adding more next-gen clients—that is, clients born after 1965.

The eighth edition of our annual State of retail wealth management report looks critically at several aspects of growth. How have so many advisors been successful at achieving growth? What roles do demographics and pricing play? What threats lie ahead for both advisors and executives? What actions can companies take to achieve long-term, sustainable growth?

Highlights for the North American wealth-management industry in 2018 include record-high advisor revenue despite a market-driven drop in assets; material improvement in the number of new client–advisor relationships established; continued growth in fee assets and revenues as well as deeper client relationships; early signs of stabilization in aggregate price levels, though significant variation persists; and the emergence of both next-gen clients and next-gen advisors as catalysts for growth.

Download Making choices, finding growth: The state of retail wealth management, 8th annual report, the full report on which this article is based (PDF–1.8MB).

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