Adviser Industry Snapshots

Investment Advisers Experience Record-Breaking Growth in 2020

Cover_Snapshot.jpgDespite the financial challenges and the business and market disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the investment adviser industry continued to experience record-breaking growth in 2020. Our numbers swelled to 13,880 firms with nearly 880,000 employees managing $110 trillion in assets for 60.8 million clients.

Those encouraging statistics and more are included in our comprehensive annual industry profile, which is entering its 21st year with a new look, new features, and a new name – the Investment Adviser Industry Snapshot. It succeeds our Evolution Revolution report.

The inaugural Investment Adviser Industry Snapshot 2021 includes more charts, more tables, and more analysis to make it easier to see and understand industry trends. And for those who want to dive into the numbers, we’re posting detailed data tables online, in downloadable Excel files.

The key findings of our 2021 report include:

  • The investment adviser industry continues to experience record growth. The number of SEC-registered advisers, the number of clients they served, the assets they managed and the number of people they employed all reached record highs in 2020. Approximately 14,000 SEC-registered advisers have employed over 879,000 non-clerical employees who are managing $110 trillion in assets.
  • Individual investor demand for advice is surging. While all client segments have grown over the past three years, growth in both the number and assets of individual clients has been exceptionally strong, with the number of individual investors growing by 38% over the past two years.
  • Growth has been strongest for the largest advisers. Advisers with over $100 billion in assets have experienced gains in assets of 14 percent-plus annually over the past five years, far ahead of smaller advisers.
  • Compensation structures have become increasingly flexible. Over the past 20 years, advisers have become more likely to offer fixed fees and hourly fees in addition to asset-based fees.
  • Advisers are on the move. Compared to 2019, adviser offices were more likely to be in southern states and less likely to be in traditional financial centers.

Our findings are based on data reported by federally registered advisory firms to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Investment Adviser Industry Snapshot is a joint project of the IAA and National Regulatory Services (NRS).