In an increasingly competitive market, a limited number of firms — big,
medium and small — remain atop the list for their best practices, ability
to recruit and/or acquire more advisors, and support RIAs
The face of the independent broker- dealer industry is changing. As IBD executives shared in this year’s Presidents Poll, overall pressures
tied to fee compression and industry consolidation are top of
mind. Meanwhile, financial advisors have their own competitive pressures as they push to add clients and assets.
For firms participating in Investment Advisor’s 2018 Broker-Dealer Reference Guide, the mix of good and bad news is
revealed in the final tally. There are fewer firms today than
several years ago, according to industry data and our research.
This is translating, though, into a greater average number of
advisors per firm: 1, 332 vs. 1,158 in 2016 — a 15% jump.
Plus, the number of advisors added at the 50-plus broker-
dealers is approaching 9,000 vs. 7,100 two year
ago, representing a 26% increase; that figure soars
to about 73% when comparing ’ 18 additions with
those of ’ 17. Average fees and commissions (or gross
production) per registered rep is nearing $240,000 vs. roughly
$220,000 in 2016 — a 9% improvement. And average assets per
rep soared 40% in the past two years to some $37.6 million.
On the other hand, average gross revenue per broker-dealer
participating in this survey seems to have fallen over the past
two years by about 22% to an estimated $237 million; for the
past year, though, that also represents an 36% improvement.
Estimates for fee-based revenue per broker-dealer have weakened in the past two years; however, with the average level at
about $103 million, it’s bucking the general trend.
2018 2017 2016
Number of companies included in directory: 52 51 67
Total number of representatives in directory: 67,952 59,485 77,562
Average number of reps per firm: 1,332 1,166 1,158
Number of reps added or dropped: 8,959 / 6,287 5,188 / 5,392 7,100 / 7,012
Average annual gross production per rep: $239,862 $231,942 $219,531
Average AUM per representative ($ mil.): $37.60 $30.95 $26.95
Average gross revenue per BD ($ mil.): $236.88e* $174.54e* $302.62
Average fee-based revenue per BD ($mil.): $103.0e* $78.20e* $118.90
* Estimate based on data from 34 BDs, with many large firms declining to provide 2017 estimates.
The 2018 Broker-Dealer Reference Guide
By Janet Levaux
Data compiled by