The growth makes the IBD channel an appealing option for asset managers, Ed Louis, a senior analyst at Cerulli, said in a prepared statement.

“IBDs remain one of asset managers’ most consistent opportunities due to the large number of potential firm partnerships, advisors and accelerating growth from the hybrid channel,” Louis said.

There was a note of caution in the report regarding IBDs and their prospects for continued growth.

The report said that despite the growth numbers, the average IBD advisor is 28 percent less productive than the average BD advisor—38 percent less if you include hybrid registered investment advisors.

If IBDs expect to continue their pace of growth, Louis said, they will need to improve advisor productivity, as well as strengthen succession planning and protect against large teams migrating to the independent RIA model.

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