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"This is a head-on counterattack and is definitely making the [digital] space a lot more competitive," says William Trout, a senior analyst for Celent.
"We have to continue to grow and we'll be looking at acquisitions, mergers, tuck-ins and roll-ups, all of the above," says Mark Allen, president of Nebraska-based Allen Capital Group.
Midsize firms are proving to be an M&A sweet spot: "The next leap for firms with $500 million or less is $1 billion, but they can't get there on their own," says Michael Bilotta.
Stressing the importance of realistic risk tolerance and the inevitability of encountering volatile markets is critical.
Around 80% of KMS' advisors, who are about equally divided between fee and commission-based business models, are based in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
'Fidelity enhances its reputation as a forward-looking firm and Betterment benefits from Fidelity's brand name and access to their advisors,' says industry consultant Tim Welsh.
Aequitas Capital is hoping to woo advisors with an unusual but potentially potent pitch: its expertise in alternative investments.
Personal Capital's business model is rooted in technology -- but with live advisors and higher fees, the firm wants to duck the "robo" label.
Wealthfront can become the "leader in a new emerging market" if it focuses on millennials the way Charles Schwab zeroed in on Baby Boomers, says CEO Adam Nash.
Only about 20% of the mass affluent market have a financial advisor, notes FutureAdvisor CEO Bo Lu, compared with around 60% of individuals with more than $1 million in investable assets.
'This is a boom time for these markets,' says Adrian Flambard, deVere's area manager in San Francisco.
Rather than fighting off digital competition, RIAs should bet on Betterment's "robo advisor" technology, says industry veteran Steve Lockshin.
The industry is losing about 3,000 to 4,000 advisors annually who aren’t being replaced, says Pershing CEO Mark Tibergien.
“There’s a very low supply of advisory firms with more than $1 billion in assets under management,” says Echelon CEO Dan Seivert.
Thanks to a continued economic recovery, strong equity market performance, rising real estate values and record domestic oil production, wealth growth rates in the U.S. strongly outpaced global averages.
"We want to focus on what advisors can do to prepare for the next generation or two," says NAPFA chair Robert Gerstemeier.
Less than 1% of young people say they want financial services providers to contact them through social media, according to new research by BNY Mellon.
While Envestnet is a leader in turnkey platform services for advisors, observers say the company still faces a host of challenges and needs someone whom RIAs can relate to in the trenches.
The deal with Joseph Capital Management gives Modera a Florida presence plus tax and technology expertise.
One year later, Forbes' growth plans have been stymied by a difficult market for acquiring firms.