Numbers Game

Numbers Gameblog

Latest research and trends from around the financial advisory business, updated regularly highlighting stats, charts, infographics and all things data.

Jun 10, 2016, 1:59 PM EST

The research behind why business development is so crucial to your firm's success

By Matt Sirinides

Research from InvestmentNews' annual benchmarking study shows that business development – a term for the formal prospecting and client acquisition process – becomes a necessary source of growth for independent advisory firms as they scale. Our data shows that the practice gradually supplants traditional referrals, and the firms who succeed the most in this area distinguish themselves as the largest and most profitable firms in the industry. (Is your firm a top performer? Find out now by participating in our 2016 benchmarking study: Read full post

Dec 14, 2015, 2:43 PM EST

Industry responses to confronting advice's diversity issues reveal racial divide

By Matt Sirinides

As is often the case with many questions, the answers all depend on who you're asking. Are minority communities under-served by financial advisers? Are advisers who don't target minority communities missing out on a growth opportunity? When we recently surveyed advisers for InvestmentNews' feature on diversity, we sought to learn how race was viewed not only in their practices, but also in the industry at large. The results indicate the advice industry is no exception to the divided perceptions surrounding race that persist in American public opinion.Below are advisers' responses to an attitudinal battery of questions, broken down by respondent race.... Read full post

Nov 1, 2015, 12:01 AM EST

The best- and worst-performing target date funds

By InvestmentNews Data

Target Date 2011-2015 Top 10 3-month return1-year return3-year return5-year returnNet assets ($M)Expense ratio*JHancock Retirement Choices at 2015 1 (JRFOX)-0.62%0.95%2.04%3.78%$401.40.50%Putnam RetirementReady 2015 A (PRRHX)-1.59%0.48%3.81%4.42%$47.70.93%Wells Fargo Advtg DJ Trgt 2015 Inv (WFQEX)-1.69%-1.35%2.02%3.51%$765.90.89%MFS Lifetime 2015 A (LFTDX)-2.32%-0.17%N/AN/A$47.90.84%KP Retirement Path 2015 Institutional (KPRAX)-2.34%0.39%N/AN/A$490.30.37%Great-West Lifetime 2015 I T (MXLTX)-2.88%-0.62%3.62%5.21%$151.90.84%JPMorgan SmartRetirement Blend 2015 R5 (JSBWX)-2.93%-0.58%4.71%N/A$59.40.50%Schwab Target 2015 (SWGRX)-2.94%0.56%5.54%6.68%$113.10.53%Great-West Lifetime 2015 II T (MXLVX)-3.54%-0.73%4.58%6.03%$950.30.87%AllianzGI Retirement 2015 A (AZGAX)-3.55%-3.65%1.09%3.33%$30.90.97%Bottom 5AB 2015 Retirement Strategy A (LTEAX)-6.88%-4.58%4.44%5.08%$71.10.98%Franklin LifeSmart 2015 Retire Trgt A (FTRAX)-5.56%-3.46%4.09%4.99%$77.... Read full post

Oct 25, 2015, 12:46 PM EST

The best- and worst-performing liquid alternatives funds

By InvestmentNews Data

Funds that employ alternative strategies — even those in the same general category — can perform drastically differently. Below are rankings for six liquid alternative categories based on year-to-date returns. In two cases, alternative global macro and alternative long/short equity, the gap between the top-performing fund and the worst performer reaches almost 50 percentage points and 45 percentage points, respectively, highlighting the importance of the manager behind the strategy. For expert commentary on using alts in client portfolios, click here.... Read full post

Oct 18, 2015, 2:10 PM EST

China casts a pall over global markets in third quarter

By Tom Roseen and InvestmentNews Data

Global markets took it on the chin in the third quarter, with fears of slowing global growth, Federal Reserve tightening measures, slumping commodity prices and drug-pricing issues sending the major indexes down during the quarter more than 10% from their recent market highs. Of course, the primary catalyst for the market free-fall during the quarter was China, where the Shanghai Price Only Composite declined 30.38% for the quarter after a slew of poor economic reports showed the growth trajectory for the world's second-largest economy was on a decline, putting investors in a funk. A positive finish for equities in the last two trading days of September wasn't enough to offset the Fed-induced market rout. The Sept. 17 Federal Open Market Committee statement that kept interest rates unchanged sent many of the major indexes to their worst quarterly performance since at least Q3 2011 as market pundits began to question the health of the U.... Read full post

Oct 18, 2015, 12:01 AM EST

Bond funds slump amid global crises and Fed inaction

By Jeff Tjornehoj and InvestmentNews Data

At the time of our last quarterly review, the Greek debt crisis was front and center, spinning off volatility and vitriol as creditors and debtors slugged it out for supremacy. Unfortunately, concern for Greece wasn't all investors had on their minds this past quarter: a slowdown in China has sent shockwaves through emerging markets and threatens the growth of our global economy.Since the financial crisis, Chinese authorities have been congratulated for steering the world's second-largest economy through various setbacks while maintaining at least 7% annual growth.... Read full post

Oct 13, 2015, 3:31 PM EST

Women's rise to senior positions at advisory firms has stalled

By Matt Sirinides

Women are well-represented in the financial advice industry from an overall staffing perspective — making up about half of total employees at a typical advisory firm — but that picture changes dramatically when we look deeper. In breaking out the roles women hold, it is clear the business remains, especially in firm ownership and client-facing professional roles, a male-dominated field.According to InvestmentNews Research's latest advisory firm benchmarking data, just 19% of people in partner-level positions, or with titles indicating ownership, are women. When it comes to employee advisers — non-owner advisers holding the Lead (Level 1), Service (Level 2) or Support (Level 3) titles — 36% are women. While advisers in more senior roles tend to be male — a trend that hasn't budged since the 2013 InvestmentNews Adviser Compensation and Staffing Study — changes could be ahead.(Don't miss: The 2015... Read full post

Sep 16, 2015, 5:14 PM EST

How independent broker-dealers are utilizing technology today

By Ellie Zhu and InvestmentNews Data

The InvestmentNews Independent Broker-Dealer Technology Survey was conducted in August. 42 IBDs participated. Below is a snapshot of the technological spending and usage in the IBD channel. Visit for complete profiles and financials of individual firms.... Read full post

Sep 6, 2015, 12:01 AM EST

The latest 529 college savings plan data

By InvestmentNews Data and Liz Skinner

Americans continue to save for steep college costs through tax-advantaged Section 529 savings plans. Virginia's CollegeAmerica plan, an adviser-sold program managed by merican Funds, remains the nation's largest with nearly $50 billion in assets. The next largest college savings plan sold through financial advisers is Maine's NextGen College Ivesting Plan Select, which has $8 billion in assets. The top program that's sold directly to consumers is New York's 529 Program, which is managed by Ascensus and contains $16.4 billion in assets. That particular plan also ranks among the top five performers in its class over the last three years, as does the version of the CollegeAmerica plan in Virginia that's sold by registered investment advisers.... Read full post

Sep 2, 2015, 12:52 PM EST

How to think about alternatives

By Ellie Zhu

Today, investors have more alternatives to choose from than ever Source: ProShares ... Read full post

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