Many registered investment advisors are facing a double transition: one to younger clients and one to new owners, which could raise frightening questions on whether some firms can survive, according to a Fidelity study released Thursday.
RIAs need to engage the next generation of clients, while they also are trying to find the next generation of talent to take over their businesses, says David Canter, executive vice president, practice management and consulting, Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions.
The 2015 Fidelity RIA Benchmarking Study, conducted by Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions, shows that 23 percent of RIA clients are 70 or older and own 28 percent of the firms’ assets. “Advisors need to have the next generation of clients in their sights and be engaged with the clients’ families,” Canter says.
RIAs also are thinking about transitioning their own firms. Thirty-seven percent of the advisors questioned say they will leave the business in the next decade, up from 30 percent who said that last year. “That is a shorter time frame than I would have expected,” Canter says. “That makes the most pressing issue for succession developing the new talent to take over.”
Fifty-nine percent of the 441 RIAs included in the survey say they prefer an internal succession, rather than a merger or a sale, but only 27 percent of firms have next-generation owners in place and only 9 percent of equity is held by those next-generation owners.