Schwab report shows strong growth of SEC-regulated advisers

New registrations increased 20% in 2017 over the year before

Oct 3, 2018 @ 1:34 pm

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

The number of investment advisers that registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2017 jumped 20% over the year before, according to an analysis by Schwab Advisor Services.

The Schwab analysis shows that 238 firms registered with the SEC for the first time in 2017, up from 199 in 2016. The 2017 number represents a 59% increase from the 150 new registrants in 2013.

The new firms tend to be bigger than in the past, according to Schwab. In 2017, 29% of new registrants had assets under management of more than $300 million, compared with 12% in 2013.

Number of new SEC RIA registrations
Source: SEC ADV Filings / Discovery Data 2013-2017

In testimony submitted last week to a House Financial Services subcommittee, Dalia Blass, director of the SEC's Division of Investment Management, said that the number of registered investment advisers has grown to more than 13,000, and they have a collective AUM of nearly $84 trillion.

In a study released last month, the Investment Adviser Association said that the number of RIAs increased 3.3% from 2016 to 2017 to reach a record high.

Advisory firms with more than $100 million AUM must register with the SEC. If they have less than $100 million, they have to register with the states where they are located. When firms cross the $100 million threshold, they become new SEC registrants.

Single and multi-custodian firms by size
Source: SEC ADV Filings / Discovery Data 2013-2017

A Schwab spokeswoman said that the firm's report did not include advisers who grew into SEC oversight. It focused on firms that were established in 2017, which Schwab said represented nearly $84 billion of AUM at the time they registered.

"A decade after the onset of the financial crisis, it's evident that the independent model has flourished along with investors' demand for fiduciary advice," Jonathan Beatty, Schwab Advisor Services senior vice president for sales and relationship management, said in a statement.

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