NEW YORK (Reuters) - Client assets managed by registered investment advisory groups in the United States jumped by nearly $7 trillion in 2014 as more securities brokers and clients joined the independent side of the wealth management industry, according to a study of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission data released on Tuesday.
The annual study, published by trade groups the Investment Adviser Association and National Regulatory Services and titled Evolution Revolution, is based on information about assets under management, staff, and business activities that registered investment advisory groups (RIAs) file with the SEC.
It found that RIAs, independent businesses run by financial advisers either in a group or on their own, managed a combined $61.7 trillion in client assets in 2014, up 12.6 percent from $54.8 trillion in 2013.
During the same time, the number of RIAs nationwide rose by 362 to 10,895 in 2014, up from 10,533 in 2013, bringing the total number of individuals employed by RIAs to over 700,000.
More RIAs means more clients, and the study found RIAs reported 2.38 million more clients than in 2013.
The increase in clients, RIAs and assets all point to recovering confidence in the markets, said Karen Barr, general counsel of the Investment Adviser Association.
“I think you saw in the 2008 and 2009 period, people pulled out of the market and were very cautious,” Barr said. “As the economy is improving, you’re seeing more people wanting to invest again.”
The study also found that the majority of client assets are controlled by a small number of RIAs. In 2014, the 112 largest RIAs by assets under management controlled more than 52 percent of all reported client assets, up 1.7 percent from 2013.
Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts; Editing by Tom Brown