A new survey reveals that independent RIAs have seen their level of job satisfaction rise 10% and the number with an optimistic outlook for the U.S. economy has climbed by 25% over the past three months, according to a survey released by TD Ameritrade Institutional. Half of the 500 RIAs surveyed gave a top rating (9 or 10) to their satisfaction with their job, up from about 40% three months ago.

Advisors "seem to have felt more needed over the last year and this contributes to a higher level of job satisfaction," says Brian Stimpfl, managing director of advisor advocacy and industry affairs at TD Ameritrade. "People are seeing the other side of this terrible cycle and that's drawing out some more positive feelings."

A favorable business environment is also contributing to their upbeat attitudes, Stimpfl says. Nine out of ten RIAs say their network of clients is up or remained flat over the last six months, while less than 10% report losing clients.

Wirehouses and full-commission brokerages accounting for 72% of new assets, according to the RIAs surveyed. This finding dovetails with TD Ameritrade Institutional's own experience. "What we see in ACATs [full-account transfers] is that 67% are coming from full-account channels," Stimplfl says.

Some advisors view this as an opportunity to go on the offensive, he adds. Fully 70% of the RIAs surveyed avoided cost-cutting in the past quarter and 19% increased spending.