Financial advisors who specialize in a certain area manage nearly double the industry average of assets per advisor, according to research from Cerulli Associates, a Boston-based analytics firm.

Specialist advisors accounted for 29 percent of overall advisor assets as of the end of June, Cerulli said.

“The vast majority of financial advisors are generalists,” said Scott Smith, director at Cerulli. “We estimate that only 15 percent of advisors tailor their business to a unique clientele, such as institutions, retirement plans or high-net-worth investors.”

The fourth quarter issue of The Cerulli Edge-Advisor Edition took a close look at wealth managers and identified the characteristics that distinguish a true wealth manager from other advisors.

According to Cerulli, specialization limits an advisor’s viable market, but improves success in business development. By targeting a narrow segment and clearly articulating a tailored service offering, advisors are more likely to win business when competing with a generalist.

“Although practiced by a minority, specialization helps generate gains in asset aggregation. Specificity in marketing and in personal interactions throughout the business development process yields results that differentiate from generalist practices,” Smith said.