This year, leading wirehouse and regional wealth management firms saw the financial crisis recede even farther in the rear-view mirror. Our 2013 leaders positioned themselves for success in a variety of ways. Some stayed the course and preserved capital. Others doubled down and invested in their core businesses. Regardless of which strategies they used, this year's top performers took the steps necessary to ensure they reap rewards as markets hit new highs.

"Wealth management arms have been the shining part of [their] organizations," Alois Pirker, research director at Aite Group, says. "They're thriving as risk taking is improving and the markets are looking up."

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