The advisor compensation plans unveiled by wealth management firms this year all have one thing in common: they incent advisors to reach for more assets in new ways. But what we found behind those changes is that one key emphasis remains—the client.

Whether it is UBS' new rewards for advisors who work with clients to create financial plans, the client transition program at Merrill Lynch that aims to ensure a smooth transition for clients when advisors retire, or a new product neutral payout grid at Raymond James that eliminates incentives to sell certain products, it is also the clients who stand to win new gains.

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