• Thank you for participating!

    Fielding is now closed for The 2016 FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms: Growth by Design. We thank the hundreds of firms who participated this year. The study report will be available in August of 2016.

  • An Investment in Clarity

    We provide the clarity needed to take the right strategic steps for future growth and success. Learn how we bring clarity to our clients.

  • An Investment in Performance

    We utilize proprietary marketplace research and benchmarking to maximize performance. See how our research puts firms on the leading edge of the industry.

  • An Investment in Your Long-Term Success

    We are experts in helping financial advisory firms achieve long-term success — working directly with them or in partnership with institutional firms who serve advisors. See how we guide firms to achieve their long-term goals.

  • An Investment in Knowledge

    The 2015 FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms: People and Pay is now available for purchase. Read excerpts and a more detailed overview of the study or order now.


Where do you see your business headed? Is it on track for future success, or stuck in neutral? When your primary focus is on your day-to-day operations, it’s often hard to see what’s specifically needed to drive growth. That’s where FA Insight comes in.


We don’t believe in growth for growth’s sake. We believe in enhancing the performance of firms, leading to sustainable growth. FA Insight has the expertise to give an impartial perspective on the development and realization of growth strategies.


It’s the old adage: We don’t look good unless you look good. Whether you’re a financial advisory firm or an institutional firm that partners with advisors, our work is only effective if it truly gives you the tools to create value and long-term success.

How We Help

Advisory Firms

We start by listening to you — your concerns, challenges, and needs. We talk with the relevant personnel on your team and gather all the facts. Then, we put it all together, combining what we learn with our deep industry knowledge and proprietary data. Ultimately, we deliver detailed, customized, and implementable recommendations on how your firm can achieve its long-term goals.

Common issues our advisory firm clients face include: Stalled growth • Lack of a clear business strategy • Confusion around how to structure roles and compensation • Lack of management capability • High level of dependency on firm principals

Institutional Firms

If you’re with an institutional firm, you can think of FA Insight as a partner that helps facilitate the growth of the advisory firms you work with. Simply put, we have the ability to provide a wide range of services and programs to help support you in engaging and advancing advisory firm practices. This support enhances your brand while giving advisory firms the business management guidance they need.

Common issues our institutional clients face include: Continuous need for outreach to advisory firms • Desire for engaging content and presentations designed specifically for advisory firms • Uncertainty regarding how to prioritize advisor support resources • Need for impartial, third-party industry research and data

FA Insight can help advisory firms in these areas:

FA Insight can help institutions in these areas:

We create effective strategic plans that determine how firms can best use their time, money and energy to achieve their goals. Working directly with firm shareholders, we create three- to five-year strategic plans, along with an implementation schedule that ensures these plans can be effectively used for long-term growth and success.
We help firms organize talent so they can serve their clients in the most efficient manner. This includes defining an ideal firm structure, outlining clear role responsibilities, and building an internal career path that supports succession plans.
We work with firms to develop a compensation philosophy and structure that will attract, motivate, reward, and retain talent. We use our proprietary industry compensation data to determine appropriate levels of pay based on your location.
We create a structured performance-management process to enable firms to track and reward individual performance, all aligned with a defined compensation plan.
We work with firms at any stage in their lifecycle to develop clear leadership succession plans and plan for any contingencies that might arise in the event of sudden or rapid management changes.

In addition, advisory firms can access our regularly published white papers and other reports at any time to stay on the leading edge of industry thinking. View Research Studies.

We develop benchmarking studies that enable advisory firms and broker-dealers to better understand the performance trends in the industry. Areas such as financial and operating performance, capacity utilization, resource allocation, talent compensation, and pricing are measured and analyzed so firms get a better sense of how they stack up versus their competition.

We regularly publish research-based practice-management white papers and guidebooks in partnership with institutional sponsors. If you’re an institutional firm, we can assist you with preparing published content that provides practical guidance for your affiliated advisors. Our work can position your organization as an advocate for advisory firms and an industry thought leader.

Drawing upon our proprietary research and years of consulting experience, our research publications highlight industry best practices and offer solutions for a number of key business areas, such as:

  • Effective Human Capital Management
  • Operational Excellence
  • Strategic Growth including Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Successful Marketing and Pricing Strategies
  • Transitioning to a More Independent Business Model
  • Financial Management
We develop tools that help advisors better understand their firm’s performance and determine areas in need of improvement. These tools, drawing from advisor input, typically offer targeted benchmarking data and analytics that focus attention where it’s most needed.

We’re experienced at conducting market research to evaluate your firm’s competitive environment and strategic options. Whether you’re seeking to enter new markets, introduce new products, or simply enhance the competitiveness of your current offerings, FA Insight will partner with you to provide an objective analysis of all the possibilities.

Combining our own data and in-house expertise with other primary and secondary research, we assess your competitive positioning, help confirm the most appropriate direction for your firm, and recommend where to focus resources. As a result, you’ll have a solid foundation for strategic decision-making.

We will assess your institution’s current practice management offerings, identify the gaps, provide a logical, well-defined framework for your program, and contribute ideas for the development of new practice management resources. This will help you deliver in the areas most relevant to your advisors.

We can help you make a lasting impression and deliver vital information through customized workshops, Webcasts, and presentations for advisors. Whether these sessions are conducted “virtually” or in-person, sharing our thought leadership is another way we provide meaningful business support to advisors and help institutional firms be strong advocates and supporters of advisory firms.

Research Studies

The 2016 FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms: Growth by Design

FA Insight, in collaboration with media partner Financial Planning, invites you to participate in its eighth annual industry study: Growth by Design. Strategic planning, operations, and marketing are given particular focus as the study strives to identify key factors that are the strongest contributors toward sustaining growth. In this vein, FA Insight will examine how the industry's most successful firms achieve growth including the planning processes that direct this success. Fielding is open now through April 29.

For an overview of survey questions, click here.

Research Studies Available for Purchase

We collect lots of data, but it’s what we do with it that counts. FA Insight conducts proprietary research across the financial services industry, enabling us to stay ahead of market trends and offer you the chance to gain a broader perspective on your business, determine areas that need improvement, and gain new ideas that help you make progress.

Our flagship research initiative is the FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms. Produced annually, this report gives advisory firm owners critical data for benchmarking their firm’s performance against peers. In addition, the report offers consultative prescriptions for success.

The 2015 FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms: People and Pay

The 2015 FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms: People and Pay promises meaningful insight that is applicable for any advisor interested in better business performance. Along with media partner Financial Planning, FA Insight's seventh annual industry study focuses special attention on how firms position their people and utilize incentive pay in order best facilitate and accommodate growth.

For excerpts and a more detailed overview of the study, click here.

The 2014 FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms: Growth by Design

The 2014 FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms: Growth by Design aims to guide the many firm owners who struggle with growth, whether it is in terms of how to achieve it, how to manage it, or how to sustain it. Sponsored by TD Ameritrade Institutional, FA Insight’s sixth annual study of advisory firms explores how growing well, or growth by design, produces managed sustainable growth that minimizes stress on a firm’s infrastructure and builds lasting enterprise value.

For excerpts and a more detailed overview of the study, click here.

The 2013 FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms: People and Pay

FA Insight is pleased to announce the release of its fifth annual study of advisory firms, People and Pay. Five years of FA Insight’s industry analyses reaffirms the importance of human capital management to advisory firms. Sound people practices can accelerate growth as well as provide insulation against periods of adversity.

For excerpts and a more detailed overview of the study, click here.

Other Research Developed By FA Insight

"Real Deals: Achieving Purposeful Growth with Purposeful Transactions" Pershing whitepaper by FA Insight

"Advisor Best Practices for Growth in 2015" Webcast featuring Dan Inveen from FA Insight and hosted by SEI

"Mission Possible IV: Three Pressure-Tested Growth Strategies of the Industry's Leadings RIAs" Pershing whitepaper by FA Insight

"When Compensation Pays Off: Leading Strategies for High-Performing Teams" TD Ameritrade Institutional Webcast by FA Insight

“Breakout Growth: Adding Key Positions to Unlock Growth Potential” TD Ameritrade Institutional whitepaper by FA Insight

“Real Deals Trend Report: The Powerful Potential of the RIA to RIA Deal” Pershing whitepaper by FA Insight

“Advisor of the Future II: Building a Business to Last” Pershing whitepaper by FA Insight

2012 FSI Broker-Dealer Financial Performance and Compensation Study

“Mission Possible III: Strategies to Sustain Growth in Challenging Times” Pershing whitepaper by FA Insight

“Building a Business with Business Owners” Pershing guidebook prepared by FA Insight

“DESTINATION RIA: What to Expect and How to Prepare” Pershing guidebook prepared by FA Insight

2011 FSI Broker-Dealer Financial Performance and Compensation Study

“Pricing Strategies to Create Growth: An Independent Advisor's Guide” Pershing guidebook prepared by FA Insight

“Asset Consolidation: Your Path to Greater Growth and Efficiency” Pershing white paper by FA Insight

“Real Deals 2010: Definitive Information on Mergers and Acquisitions for Advisors” Pershing white paper by FA Insight

“Success At Any Stage: Understanding the Advisor Life Cycle” Financial Network Investment Corporation white paper by FA Insight

“The Race for Top Talent II” Pershing white paper by FA Insight

“Establishing an Effective Owner Compensation Plan” Schwab MKT by FA Insight

“Creating Growth: The Rewards and Challenges of the Multi-Location Model” Pershing white paper by FA Insight

2010 FSI Broker-Dealer Financial Performance and Compensation Study

“Creating Growth: Tuck Ins, Breakaways and Advisor Recruiting Strategies” Pershing white paper by FA Insight

“Evolution of the Independent Channel” OneVoice 2010 FSI Broker-Dealer Conference Presentation

Real Deals 2009: Definitive Information on Mergers and Acquisitions for Advisors

“Prospering in Turbulent Times” Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. white paper by FA Insight

Who We Help

Our Clients

FA Insight works exclusively within the financial services industry. Our clients represent every type of marketplace participant, including: Individual advisory firms • Custodians  • Broker-dealers  • Trade and professional associations • Fund companies • Banks  • Accounting firms.

A sample of clients we've helped:

Individual advisory firms that we work with tend to be mid-sized or larger, with annual revenue over $2.5 million. At this level, more complicated business issues begin to arise, requiring firms to operate differently than they had in the past.
For institutional firms, trade associations, and other industry organizations whose affiliates include financial advisory firms, we help support these affiliates and build loyalty. Our benchmarking studies, white papers, presentations, and tools are valuable assets that provide insight and clarity when a broad industry-wide perspective is needed.

News & Press

What's New

What’s New

  • Participate in fielding for Growth by Design 2016
  • TD Ameritrade agrees to acquire assets of FA Insight
  • Explore findings from People and Pay in Financial Planning

Press Releases

TD Ameritrade Agrees to Acquire Assets of FA Insight, Delivering Big Data Capabilities to Independent RIAs

ORLANDO, Fla. – TD Ameritrade, among the largest providers of custody and brokerage services to independent registered investment advisors (“RIAs”), has agreed to acquire the research, benchmarking and consulting capabilities of FA Insight, a combination that will give advisors ready access to some of the industry’s deepest and most comprehensive collection of business information.

Click here to read the full press release. (PDF)

FA Insight Press

TD Ameritrade to Acquire FA Insight for Big Data

“The acquisition…will make available more than a decade of survey data as well as three industry studies for advisers, including ‘Growth by Design,’ ‘People and Pay’ and a mergers and acquisition-focused report. Research on areas such as client acquisition, staffing and compensation, pricing strategies, operational efficiency and risk management also will be provided to advisers.”

Alessandra Malito—InvestmentNews, February 4, 2016

FA Insight Press

Is the Advisor Talent Shortage Just a Mirage?

“According to the FA Insight study, non-owner Lead Advisor compensation…has experienced annualized growth of only 2.6% since the market bottom in 2009. Associate advisors have fared even worse, with average annual compensation growth of only 2%, and support advisors (i.e., paraplanners) have struggled even more, with compensation gains of only 1.2% over the past 6 years. To put that in context, the general growth for all U.S. wage and salary workers over the same time period was 2.0%!”

Michael Kitces—Kitces.com, October 26, 2015

FA Insight Press

Advisor Succession Planning: Better, But Still Not Too Hot

“…the owners of financial advisory firms seem to be dragging their heels when it comes time to plan for the future of their business after they have retired or died. According to a recent report from FA Insight, fewer than half (44%) of surveyed advisory firms said they have an adequate succession plan in place. Yet the share of firms with owners who are three years or less from retirement has more than doubled in the past four years.”

FA Insight—Financial Advisor, October 1, 2015

FA Insight Press

Better-Paid Employees Build Better Firms

“While Standouts may tend to pay a premium for their personnel, it is clearly money well spent. With the exception of [the smallest firms], Standouts at every stage generate more revenue per professional than their peers. This trend holds true for revenue per all [full-time employees] as well. This suggests that by targeting higher pay for their people, Standout firms are attracting and retaining more capable team members that support a more productive firm. “

Dan Inveen and Eliza De Pardo—Investment Advisor, September 28, 2015

FA Insight Press

Compensation Report: Who’s in the Money?

“Pay levels across a variety of industry positions have increased steadily in recent years according to The 2015 FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms: People and Pay… for the great majority of industry positions compensation growth exceeded average U.S. pay growth over the 2009–2015 period. A more rapid rise in advisory firm revenue relative to compensation levels, however, has helped to increase profits and counter any squeeze on margins due to rising labor costs.”

FA Insight—On Wall Street, September 25, 2015

Annual Studies, Press Releases

People and Pay Highlights Human Capital Practices That Sustain Advisory Firm Success

Tacoma, Wash. — Rising productivity is outpacing pay growth, contributing to another year of record profitability for advisory firms. According to study findings released today by industry research and consulting firm FA Insight, the operating profit margin for the typical firm hit 26.1% in 2014, a dramatic four-percentage-point increase over the previous high set just one year prior.

Click here to read the full press release. (PDF)

Press Releases

M&A Activity Among RIA Firms Remains Steady but Aligning Strategic Objectives More Important Than Ever

Registered investment advisor firms (RIAs) continue to initiate the bulk of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) of RIAs, but the success of these transactions increasingly rests on the alignment of the strategic objectives of the firms involved, according to a report released today by Pershing LLC, a BNY Mellon company. The report, Real Deals: Achieving Purposeful Growth with Purposeful Transactions, analyzes RIA deals and offers guidance to firms for determining if or when a transaction is the optimal course of action.

Click here to read the full press release.

Press Releases

FA Insight’s Compensation Update Finds Dramatic Increase in Advisor Pay

Advisor pay is rising dramatically. Median compensation for advisory firm professionals—positions that include business development specialists, lead and associate advisors—increased 9.0% in 2013 with another 10.0% increase expected through 2014. These findings are detailed in The FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms: People and Pay Compensation Update for 2014, released today by industry research and consulting firm FA Insight.

Click here to read the full press release (PDF).

Press Releases

Latest FA Insight Survey to Provide Up-to-Date Industry Compensation Benchmarks

FA Insight announced today the opening of The FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms: People and Pay Compensation Update for 2014. This brief survey focuses on industry-wide compensation changes since the release of The 2013 FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms: People and Pay, the firm’s comprehensive biennial human capital study. The 10-minute compensation update survey is now open for advisor participation.

Click here to read the full press release (PDF).

Press Releases

Growth by Design Study Sheds New Light on Ways for Advisors to Grow

Advisory firms enjoyed a stellar 2013 and their owners are optimistic prosperity will continue this year. The typical firm expanded its client base at a best-ever rate of 6.7% in 2013, according to findings released by industry research and consulting firm FA Insight. Growth in assets under management and revenue were both the second-highest in the six-year history of the firm’s benchmarking research.

Click here to read the full press release (PDF). 

Our Principals

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