Wirehouses are losing out to registered investment advisors,broker-dealer mega teams andhome-office due-diligence relationships when it comes to capturingmarketshare.

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That’s according to a report from Boston-based research firmCerulliAssociates, “U.S. Intermediary Distribution 2016: Evolving Rolesin Distribution,” which found that growth on the part of thewinning channels is driving a move toward more sophisticated,investment- and data-focused interactions that have traditionallybeen reserved for firms operating within the institutionalspace.

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When it came to growth, Cerulli found that, in 2015, theindependent registered investment advisor channel grew assetsfaster than any other advisor channel, experiencing growth of 6.2percent compared with an average of 0.9 percent for allchannels.

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In contrast, the wirehouse asset base during 2015shrank by 1.9 percent, ranking as the poorest-performing advisorchannel in terms of asset growth.

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Cerulli projects that within these areas of growth, theregistered investment advisor and hybrid registeredinvestment advisor channels combined will increase their assetmarketshare from 23 percent in 2015 to 28 percent in 2020.

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“While wirehouses still hold a substantial share of assets, RIAsare the growth story,” Kenton Shirk, associate director at Cerulli,said in a statement. He continued, “To build a relationship withinan independent practice, wholesalers need to truly understand afirm’s investment philosophy and decision-making process.”

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Because of consolidation and increasing focus on due diligence,the report said, partner-firm relationships have become morecomplex. Nearly a third (27 percent) of national sales managershave already reduced the number of partner firms covered by eachkey accounts manager, and 47 percent describe this effort as apriority.

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“In our survey of national sales managers, 67 percent rankincreasing the technical skills of existing wholesalers to addressmore sophisticated advisor teams as the top priority,” Emily Sweet,senior analyst at Cerulli, said in a statement. Sweet added, “Webelieve this expanding institutional influence in the retailmarket, especially in the areas growing most quickly, will continuefor the foreseeable future.”

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