Annual Research Studies

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.

The FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms is produced annually, the resulting study report gives advisory firm owners critical data for benchmarking their firm’s performance against peers. In addition, the report offers consultative recommendations for success.

TD Ameritrade Institutional clients are invited to visit the Education Center for additional FA Insight resources available on a complimentary or discounted basis.

The 2020 FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms:

Growth by Design

The objective of this long-running research series is to provide critical context for running a firm, offering owners and managers insight into how their firms are performing and where attention is needed for future improvement. This year’s theme, Growth by Design, is like past Growth by Design study years, focusing on the best practices related to creating and sustaining business growth. Strategic planning, client service, operational efficiency, technology, pricing, marketing and business development practices are all given emphasis. New this year is greater income statement detail and expanded coverage of social media use, pricing alternatives, cyber-security and software integration.

The 2019 FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms:

People and Pay

The objective of this research is to understand how advisory firms are best leveraging and optimizing their greatest asset—people. This year, People and Pay offers unique insights into cultivating talent, succession planning, capacity planning, organization structure, diversity, and compensation trends.


Topical Research & Other Resources

Benchmarking your firm’s performance in comparison to industry norms can provide you with insights into strengths you may wish to build upon. The benchmarking process can also flag areas of vulnerability you may need to place a stronger focus on to successfully grow, maintain relevance, and sustain value.

In addition to our annual studies, FA Insight also offers topical white papers and other resources on issues such as succession planning, mergers, acquisitions, pricing, and more.

About FA Insight

About the Research

The FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms research series is widely recognized as an industry leading resource for insights into trends, challenges, and opportunities impacting advisory firms today. The series strives to translate research findings into actionable insight and is composed of two studies, each produced on a biennial basis, Growth by Design and People and Pay.



Growth by Design

A big difference exists between simply growing and growing well. Mastering sustainable growth requires growth by design; where purposeful growth takes precedent over growth at any cost. 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.

A hallmark of the FA Insight Study is the identification of Standout Firms—those firms that rank in the top 25 percent of their development stage based on latest calendar year operating profit margin and revenue growth over the previous two calendar years.

People and Pay

Firms often overlook the specific activities that must take place in order to achieve a firm’s overarching business goals. A prime example is people practices, where putting the right people in place and incentivizing them to work in alignment with the overall vision of the firm are vital stepping stones for implementing any firm’s growth strategy. People and Pay offers insight into the best practices related to organizing, motivating, developing, and retaining people.

FA Insight Team

About the FA Insight, TD Ameritrade Institutional Benchmarking Services Team

Drawing upon both our research findings and years of experience consulting in the field, Eliza De Pardo and Dan Inveen created The FA Insight Study of Advisory Firm Series in 2008 in response to demand from advisory firms wanting to better understand their competitive environment, assess strategic options and apply best practices of standout firms to achieve their business vision.

Now brought to you by TD Ameritrade under the direction of Vanessa Oligino, Director Business Performance Solutions. For more information on TD Ameritrade’s acquisition of the research, benchmarking and consulting capabilities of FA Insight, read the press release.

About TD Ameritrade Institutional

TD Ameritrade Institutional is a leading provider of comprehensive brokerage and custody services to more than 6,000 fee-based, independent registered investment advisors and their clients. Our advanced technology platform, coupled with personal support from our dedicated service teams, allows independent advisors to run their practices more efficiently and effectively while optimizing time with clients. TD Ameritrade Institutional is a division of TD Ameritrade, Inc., a brokerage subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation.


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