In 2018, we published over 110 blog posts on a variety of registered investment adviser ("RIA") practice management and regulatory compliance topics. We received over 165,000 visits to our blog in 2018 and a number of the most popular posts relate to practice management and regulatory topics ranging from technology adoption to cybersecurity. Over 1,700 RIA firms rely on us not only for regulatory compliance consulting support and software, but also for guidance on how to best grow and scale an advisory firm.
Here's our top 10 practice management blog posts from 2018 highlighting some of the topics we frequently discuss with our clients:
The findings in this blog post come from our annual survey of over 1,500 registered investment adviser ("RIA") firms that was conducted in the first quarter of 2018. Despite continued chatter around potential investment adviser industry fee compression, this year's survey findings closely mirror our findings from recent years with an average advisory fee of .95% and total fee of 1.22%. The advisory fee of .95% is down slightly from our 2016 survey results which showed an average advisory fee of .99%. However, it's possible that this change can be at least partially attributed to a movement towards more advisory firms utilizing a passive investment management style over the last few years.
- RIA FIrms Grew Assets Under Management by 14.87% in 2017 (May 24, 2018)
- Top RIA Portfolio Management and Reporting Software: Morningstar, Orion, and the rest (August 13, 2018)
The findings in this blog post come from our annual survey of over 1,500 RIA firms that was conducted in the first quarter of 2018. In our 2017 technology survey, portfolio management and reporting systems were one of the most popular type of technology adopted with 41% of firms using a portfolio management and reporting software system. Like many technology solutions utilized by investment advisers, portfolio management and reporting systems generally show higher adoption rates as a firm's regulatory assets under management increases. Per our annual survey findings,we have seen two solutions begin to distance themselves in a very competitive market: Morningstar Office and Orion.
- How to Choose RIA Compliance Software (February 26, 2018)
Today, RIA compliance software often falls into one of two categories: email archiving or employee supervision. This has been the case as very few comprehensive software platforms designed exclusively for RIA firms exist. Traditionally, most compliance software platforms have been built to serve large financial institutions and broker-dealers. However, since the introduction of MyRIACompliance® software platform in 2013 we've worked tirelessly to fill the technology void that exists to help RIA firms better manage regulatory compliance requirements. When comparing RIA compliance software vendors, investment advisers may want to ask a few of the following diligence questions: What are the overall capabilities and features of the RIA compliance software platform?; Does the vendor have the technology resources to constantly improve the software platform?; and Do the software creators have a full understanding of investment adviser regulations?
- How RIA Firms Can Train Staff to Detect a Phishing Email (December 12, 2018)
With increased sophistication around phishing emails, it is more important than ever to make sure your staff is properly trained on how to identify a potential fraudulent phishing email. Even for advanced users, targeted phishing emails are becoming harder to detect. It is important for registered investment adviser ("RIA") firms have a cybersecurity policy in place. A few common tips on how to detect a phishing email include:don't trust the sender display name; don't click on links contained within an email; and no personal information should be sent via email.
To stay on top of the latest industry trends and education topics, advisors at RIA firms have many conference options. Finding the right conference for you to attend can have a meaningful impact on your firm and individual professional development. A few benefits of attending a conference or two include: learning from industry experts and peers; learning what is new by visiting the exhibit hall and talking to vendors; and networking with your peers. A few of the top industry events we believe are worth making the investment in are IMAPCT®, National LINC, and T3 Technology Tools for Today Advisor Conference.
The findings in this blog post come from our annual survey of over 1,500 RIA firms that was conducted in the first quarter of 2018. In our 2017 technology survey, customer relationship management ("CRM") systems were the most popular type of technology adopted with 46% of firms using a CRM system. Like many technology solutions utilized by investment advisers, CRM systems generally show higher adoption rates as a firm's regulatory assets under management ("AUM") increases. Per our findings, the industry's three leading CRM vendors include: Redtail, Salesforce, and Wealthbox. All three industry leading CRM vendors currently integrate with our MyRIACompliance® software platform.
- Top RIA Financial Planning Software: MoneyGuidePro, eMoney, and the rest (August 22, 2018)
The findings in this blog post come from our annual survey of over 1,500 RIA firms that was conducted in the first quarter of 2018. Our most recent survey revealed that RIA firms with a single technology solution were most likely to have an financial planning solution, beating out all other technology solutions. For many firms, they can not provide core services without some form of financial planning technology in place.Per our survey findings, i 2017, MoneyGuidePro and eMoney continued to distance themselves as the two clear RIA financial planning software industry leaders. While MoneyGuidePro has been the market share leader for a number of years, eMoney continues to gain momentum and now only trails MoneyGuidePro by 5% market share.
- When does an RIA firm need to file a Form 13F with the SEC? (October 8, 2018)
The primary regulatory filing requirement for a RIA firm is the Form ADV. The Form ADV Part 1 and Part 2 is filed via the online Investment Adviser Registration Depository ("IARD") system. Some RIA firms may also need to submit additional filings such as the Section 13(d), 13(f), 13(g), 13(h), or Form 3,4, or 5. These additional filings are submitted to the SEC via the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval ("EDGAR") system.In this post, we highlight when an RIA firm may be required to submit a Form 13F filing to the SEC.
- Number of RIA Firms Grew By 20% while Broker Dealer Firms Declined By 24% from 2008 to 2017 (September 18, 2018)
During the second half of 2018, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") published its first annual industry snapshot which contains insightful data ranging from the total number of FINRA-registered representatives to the most common types of marketing materials submitted by FINRA-registered broker-dealer ("BD") firms. In addition, the detailed report discloses the total number of broker dealer and RIA firms from 2008 to the end of 2017. We analyzed the total number of firms highlighted in their report combined with other publicly available data on the number of RIA firms registered historically with the SEC to understand the relative growth in the number of broker-dealer firms compared to state and SEC-registered RIA firms over the past ten years.