New Realities in Wealth Management: U.S. Client Asset Growth Stalls in Down Market

Total U.S. client assets with brokers and registered investment advisors fell by US$495 billion to US$23.7 trillion in 2018, finds a new Aite Group report.

Boston, May 16, 2019 — Total client assets in the U.S. wealth management industry have grown almost every year since 2008. In 2018, however, client assets dropped by 2.1%, the largest decline in over a decade. This drop corresponded to a 4.4% decline in the S&P 500 Total Return Index. The 10-year compound annual growth rate of client assets now stands at 8%. Aite Group’s latest report, New Realities in Wealth Management: U.S. Client Asset Growth Stalls in Down Market, examines the year’s changes in the U.S. wealth management industry.

“Clearing and custody providers were the only segment up in overall assets from 2017, gaining US$139 billion or 2% in 2018 to reach US$7.2 trillion,” explains Greg O’Gara, senior analyst at Aite Group. “Wirehouses, though, had the largest decline and lost US$433 billion, or 5.7%, in 2018. The loss gives back 56% of this segment’s 2017 gain of US$770 billion.”

This report continues Aite Group’s New Realities in Wealth Management series by segmenting the U.S. wealth management industry into four key groups (wirehouses, self-clearing and retail brokers, clearing and custody providers, and online and discount brokers) and discusses the latest findings for client assets, fee-based assets, advisors, productivity, and market share. It is based on publicly available regulatory filings, investor presentations, and news articles, and it is supplemented by Aite Group interviews with firm executives throughout 2018 and by Aite Group estimates and analysis.

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