Numbers Game

Numbers Gameblog

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

Apr 16, 2014, 3:44 PM EST

Advice business lags behind comparable careers in hiring women

By Liz Skinner Matt Sirinides

Women make up about a quarter of the nation's financial advisers, a pretty skimpy figure considering it is a well-paying career that doesn't require a tremendous educational commitment and offers great work-life balance, at least after the first five years or so. What's surprising is the number of professions that have just as high a percentage — or higher — of women among their ranks. The Labor Department reports about 62% of accountants, 44% of economists and 33% of financial analysts are women, three careers that focus on numbers and mathematics, a feature that some have pointed to as a reason why women may be avoiding the financial advice business.About 58% of real estate agents, 45% of insurance sales agents and 33% of securities sales agents are women, suggesting that they are willing to make a living selling, another skill the successful financial adviser needs that some say turn off prospective female professionals. ... Read full post

Apr 9, 2014, 3:25 PM EST

Quantifying the best practices of advisory firms

Top performers

By Matt Sirinides

In last year's InvestmentNews/Moss Adams Compensation and Staffing Study, the yearly benchmarking report in our Excellence in Practice Management Research series, we launched our "Best Practices" awards series — an initiative to acknowledge the top firms in the financial advice business. Our aim is to home in on not only the quantitative data that singles out the top-performing firms, but also the qualitative factors that highlight the decisions firms make to achieve such lofty results. This year's benchmarking study, the 2014 InvestmentNews Financial Performance Study of Advisory Firms, hopes to continue that tradition [Participate now]. How will this year's top performers bear out the best practices?Market conditions need not applyIn 2012, the typical participating firm saw 46% of its growth in client assets from market performance. Among top performers, that figure was 39%. What top performers do is increase sources of revenue ... Read full post

Mar 31, 2014, 3:45 PM EST

Infographic: Meyers Associates' Finra BrokerCheck records

By Matt Sirinides

Last Friday, senior columnist Bruce Kelly reported on Meyers Associates, a firm that stands out for all the wrong reasons. InvestmentNews reviewed Finra records of 75 Meyers Associates brokers, and found that the percentage of registered representatives with a disclosure event is an astounding five times the industry average. Below is a selection of figures from their BrokerCheck reports.... Read full post

Mar 25, 2014, 3:52 PM EST

Closing the female-adviser gap

By Matt Sirinides

More than 324,000 individuals are identified in the U.S. Census as “personal financial advisers,” one of 536 occupations tracked in the census, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In this chart, we have identified the five that most closely resemble personal financial advisers in demographic composition by analyzing each occupation in the data set for proportion. The top five matches are a mix of titles associated with high income (dentists, CEOs), as well as niche industry posts (environmental scientist, information security analyst). If we can assume that the average client of an advisory firm can better identify with, and thus pursue, a professional who has a similar background and shared tradition, then this is somewhat unsurprising given that these occupations encompass some of the richest and most sought after client bases for advisers. Using real median household... Read full post

Mar 17, 2014, 2:55 PM EST

Is your firm optimally staffed?

By Matt Sirinides

More than 75% of company expenses are spent on staff compensation, benefits and training, so when a firm is anticipating the next step in their development, the basic drivers of growth – staffing, revenue, and productivity – must be among the very first factors evaluated to help achieve higher levels of profitability.In the recent 2013 InvestmentNews/Moss Adams Compensation & Staffing Study, key times and benchmarks were identified in an advisory firm's growth cycle that are ripe for making key hires. From the critical early phases in which a firm morphs from a “practice” to a “business,” to the largest superensemble firms, mastering these decisions helps firms become efficient and profitable.There are benchmarks for all stages of growth, whether you are a solo practitioner potentially teaming up with a partner, or a firm with $10 million in revenue looking to gauge productivity for partner... Read full post

Mar 11, 2014, 3:40 PM EST

Pimco net flows, despite increase, lag behind amid controversy

By Matt Sirinides

Pacific Investment Management Co., despite investor skepticism and ongoing turmoil at the highest ranks in management, still managed to benefit from February's boost in fixed-income investment.Overall, fixed-income net fund flows increase by 237% in February, sharply reversing the trend that began last June when “taper talk” first rattled the markets, and has continued as investors have responded positively to the new Fed chairman's statements that taper policy will happen in "measured steps."Pimco missed out on some of the upside in the bond recovery, registering negative net flows but still posting an increase of 56% in February, to -$2.5 billion. Pimco was led by $58.9 million net flow into its $4.4 billion 0-5 Year High Yield Corporate Bond Index ETF (HYS), which was the only Pimco fund to rank among the top 50 fixed-income funds by February net flows, according to data from Lipper Inc.As Pimco's chief, Bill Gross,... Read full post

Mar 5, 2014, 12:50 PM EST

Tale of two troubled REITs

By Matt Sirinides

Inland Real Estate Investment Corp. is no longer the force in the industry it once was, resulting in the rise and fall of two of its biggest REITs: Inland American Real Estate Trust and Retail Properties of America (RPAI), formerly Inland Western Retail Real Estate Trust.InvestmentNews senior columnist Bruce Kelly recently documented Inland's plans for a comeback. We've followed up by collecting the key milestones in the lifespan of those two REITs in a timeline, from launch to recovery.Launched during the heart of the run-up in real estate in 2003 and 2005, the two REITs ranked #1 (Inland American) and #2 (Inland Western) in equity raised by nontraded REITs, selling at the time for $10 per share.But as the credit crisis sunk in, commercial property values sagged and refinancing underwater retail and multifamily portfolios became prohibitive. Inland shareholders were confronted with losses. The first shock came in 2009, when Inland was ... Read full post

Mar 4, 2014, 12:47 PM EST

Lead adviser talent and compensation in the three largest U.S. cities

National Adviser Compensation Database

By Matt Sirinides

We designed our National Adviser Compensation Database to give individual advisers the power to benchmark their compensation in the most specialized ways possible, in order to meet the needs of an industry that has no shortage of specialists. The above chart answers the question, "What should a CFA-holding lead adviser (owner or non-owner) expect to earn in Chicago?" — and our database can answer many more questions just like it.Below, we break things down further and look at the designations lead advisers commonly hold. In last year's study, advisers holding a CPA were the most likely to hold other designations, while also generating the most revenue and receiving the highest amount of profit distributions.So it came as no surprise that they were the top-performing designation in terms of salary. Each designation suits advisers in different niches of financial planning, wealth management and investment advisory. Using our... Read full post

Mar 3, 2014, 4:44 PM EST

InvestmentNews Research updates adviser benchmarking tool

By Matt Sirinides

After we published our 2013 InvestmentNews/Moss Adams Compensation & Staffing Study, we wanted to provide advisers with easy-to-use, anytime access to the most pressing data the study had to offer. To that aim, in November we launched our Adviser Staffing & Compensation Calculator. Now, we're proud to introduce a revamped version of our flagship benchmarking tool: The National Adviser Compensation Database.Utilizing data collected from more than 400 firms, the National Adviser Compensation Database allows advisers to benchmark their staffing levels and compensation against some of the biggest and fastest-growing firms in the industry. In addition to filters for firm size, firm type, and professional designations, we have included a geographic market multiplier for the 150 most populous cities in the country. The multiplier, which was developed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics through an analysis of compensation, jobs and cost-of-... Read full post

Feb 25, 2014, 1:23 PM EST

Indexed annuities sales increased by over $5 billion in 2013

By Matt Sirinides

Indexed annuities, a fixed annuity that provides a minimum guaranteed rate of interest combined with an interest rate tied tied to movement of an index, accounted for 46.3% of all fixed annuities sold and 27% of total annuities sold in 2013, according to most recent data from LIMRA. Sales of indexed annuities increased by an estimated $5.4 billion in 2013, representing a 17% hike in volume, more than any other form of annuity. According to the same data, sales of variable annuities fell by 1 percent.As of the end of the third quarter, Allianz Life led all insurers in the sale of indexed annuities, with a 13.7% market share. Security Benefit Life (12.3%) and American Equity (11.0%) fell close behind.For more on annuities, visit our most recent special report on the subject... Read full post

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