Independent broker-dealer representatives who provide comprehensive wealth management services are significantly more successful than those focused mainly on investment management, according to a new study.
   The study, commissioned by AssetMark Investment Services Inc. and carried out by CEG Worldwide LLC, also found that advisors who use one or more turnkey asset management services earned more income on average than other advisors.
   Officials at AssetMark, a provider of turnkey services, said the study confirms what they have been seeing anecdotally for years. "With some of our most successful advisors, we've seen how they consistently serve their clients using a wealth management business model which attracts top clients," said Richard Steiny, president and cofounder of AssetMark.
   The study, which was based on a survey of 1,028 independent broker-dealer reps in January, found that wealth managers using turnkey services earned between $500,000 and $749,999 in 2004, with none of them falling below $100,000 a year in income. A little less than half of investment generalists, 44.4%, earned less than $100,000 and none of them earned $500,000 or more.
   The survey data suggested that the higher income was partly a function of the broader scope of services provided by wealth managers. Among the services provided by wealth managers participating in the survey were estate planning, offered by 20.2% of managers; life insurance, 19.2%; income tax planning, 16.2%; charitable giving planning, 16.2%, and asset protection planning, 8.1%.
   The wealth managers, with their wider range of services, are having greater success in recruiting and keeping affluent clients, says John Bowen, founder and chief executive of CEG Worldwide. "The wealth manager digs deeper and deals with the big issues," he said. This is partly reflected in how each group of advisors feel about market volatility. Among advisors focused on investment management, for example, 49.3% are most concerned about market volatility. By comparison, only 23.6% of wealth managers with turnkey services share in that anxiety, according to the survey.
   A majority of wealth managers, 89.9%, take the view that investment management will be completely commoditized in the future, compared with 56.3% of investment generalists who feel that way, according to the survey.
   The study also found that most of the advisors surveyed were relying on other professionals to find new clients. Among investment generalists, the study found that most, 69.7%, relied on accountants for referrals. The majority of wealth managers, 57.6%, depended on referrals from attorneys.