Industry Insights

Industry Insights: Industry Players by Advisor Headcount

Industry Insights: Industry Players by Advisor Headcount

When first starting out in the industry, you may be curious about which firms are the dominant players. Sure, you are probably familiar with the big names like Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo, but quantifying their role – and impact – in the market is a bit different.

There are a variety of ways to measure market position, of course. Today we look at how firms stack up by advisor headcount.

Total advisor estimates vary rather widely. Cerulli Associates estimates there are around 300,000 financial advisors in the United States. Michael Kitces recently explained why this figure is likely overstated with a more meaningful figure around 80,000.

Regardless, below are a handful of the better-known firms and their respective advisor headcounts to provide a general lay of the land:

17,355 – Merrill Lynch.
16,109 – LPL Financial.
16,000 – Edward Jones.
15,712 – Morgan Stanley.
14,400 – Wells Fargo.
9,931 – Ameriprise.
9,000 – Mass Mutual.
7,800 – Raymond James.
7,500 – Charles Schwab.
6,822 – UBS.
5,507 – J.P. Morgan.
2,244 – Stifel.
1,800 – Waddell & Reed.
1,800 – RBC Wealth Management.
1,237 – Fisher Investments.
1,048 – Cetera Advisors.
922 – Vanguard Personal Advisor Services.
900 – XYPN Network.
592 – Edelman Financial Engines.



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“Weekend Content for New Financial Planners” is a collection of articles, podcasts, videos, etc. that I’ve been consuming regarding breaking into financial planning, industry trends, career development, and more. Persevering through a financial crisis to create your dream career: “My advice is, don’t give up. Learn where you are. And I would say like if you don’t like where you are, you can move on.” #FASuccess Ep 177: Career-Changing To Become A Financial Advisor In The Midst Of A (Financial Crisis And) Bear Market, with Sara Stanich (Michael Kitces, Signs of hiring amid COVID-19: “Amid a pandemic, lockdowns and unprecedented volatility, advisor Evelyn Zohlen filled not one, but two open positions on her team. Landing the right talent is a process — one she was reluctant to put on hold, Zohlen explains. “We found these candidates and we didn’t want to let them go and say, ‘Hey we’ll get back to you when this dies down.” Advisors Find New Routines, and Coworkers, During Coronavirus (Andrew Weisch, Looking at virtual interviewing from an employer’s perspective: “Let the interviewee know upfront what the agenda is (a sample agenda could be: welcome, introductions of team members, overview of role, questions to candidate, questions from candidate, closing), and let them know you will be taking notes so they know there will be pauses and possible keystroke sounds.“ Mastering Your Virtual Interviewing (Caleb Brown, Avoiding COVID-19 burnout: “Bohns says she avoids scheduling evening and weekend meetings, and recommended preserving traditional weekends to the extent possible. She is not alone: American workers were already vulnerable to burnout before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Confined to home with additional domestic responsibilities and increasingly fluid work-life boundaries, they face even greater stress and exhaustion.” Are You Always Exhausted? The Burnout is Real for U.S. Workers (Meera Jagannathan, Initial industry licensing: “One of the most common questions candidates we receive from candidates: which license should I pursue first, the Series 65 or the Securities Industry Essentials “SIE” exam? While there are nuanced exceptions, these exams are designed to prepare candidates for distinct career paths.” Your First Series License — Series 65 vs. SIE Exam (Jesse Lineberry, A tragic personal story from Morgan Housel with takeaways on risk tolerance and decision-making: “We knew we were taking risks when we skied. We knew that going out of bounds was wrong, and that we might get caught. But at 17 years old we figured the consequences of risk meant our coaches might yell at us. Maybe we’d get our season pass revoked for the year.“ The Three Sides of Risk (Morgan Housel, Collaborative Fund) What topic resonated with you? Comment below. Follow me on social media for the latest updates:

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