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Investment Adviser Industry Defies Pandemic and Grows for 9th Consecutive Year

June 28, 2021


For the IAA:
Herb Perone
For NRS:
Tim Powers


Reimagined Evolution Revolution Report Affirms Industry’s Resilience

Washington, DC / Lakeville, CT (June 28, 2021)– Defying the challenges posed by the pandemic, the investment adviser industry continued to experience record-breaking growth with close to 14,000 Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) Registered Investment Advisers (RIAs) managing $110 trillion in assets for 60.8 million clients.

Those are among the topline findings of the Investment Adviser Industry Snapshot 2021, the reimagined “Evolution Revolution” report published for the past 20 years by the Investment Adviser Association (IAA) and National Regulatory Services.

“We are proud of the responsiveness and resilience shown by the investment adviser community as they guided clients through unprecedented challenges,” said IAA president & CEO, Karen Barr.  “As the industry’s consistent growth demonstrates, investors recognize the value of fiduciary advice in helping them meet their financial objectives, whether planning for retirement, saving for homeownership, or funding an education.”

The key findings of the report include:

  • The investment adviser industry continues to experience record growth. The number of SEC-registered advisers, the number of clients they served, the assets they managed and the number of people they employed all reached record highs in 2020. Approximately 14,000 SEC-registered advisers have employed over 879,000 non-clerical employees who are managing $110 trillion in assets.
  • Individual investor demand for advice is surging. While all client segments have grown over the past three years, growth in both the number and assets of individual clients has been exceptionally strong, with the number of individual investors growing by 38% over the past two years.
  • Growth has been strongest for the largest advisers. Advisers with over $100 billion in assets have experienced gains in assets of 14 percent-plus annually over the past five years, far ahead of smaller advisers.
  • Compensation structures have become increasingly flexible. Over the past 20 years, advisers have become more likely to offer fixed fees and hourly fees in addition to asset-based fees.
  • Advisers are on the move. Compared to 2019, adviser offices were more likely to be in southern states and less likely to be in traditional financial centers.

“The data in this year’s report confirmed what we’ve known all along: demand for services provided by advisers continues to increase, even as supply rises.  Advisory services are increasingly viewed as an indispensable and ubiquitous necessity for financial well-being for ever-greater portions of the population, the demand for which has been less sensitive to economic cycles than many other services,” said John Gebauer, president of National Regulatory Services.  “If this pattern continues to hold, the industry will experience continued and robust growth, further demonstrating its crucial role in the lives of investors. It’s an exciting time to be an investment adviser.”

The full Investment Adviser Industry Snapshot 2021 can be viewed and downloaded from the IAA website or by going to


About the Investment Adviser Association

The Investment Adviser Association (IAA) is the leading trade association representing the interests of fiduciary investment adviser firms. The IAA’s member firms collectively manage more than $25 trillion in assets for a wide variety of institutional and individual investors. In addition to serving as the voice of the advisory profession on Capitol Hill and before the SEC, DOL, CFTC and other U.S. and international regulators, the IAA provides extensive practical and educational services to its membership. For more information, visit or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

About NRS

Part of LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, National Regulatory Services (NRS) is integrated with Accuity, the leading global provider of financial crime screening, payments and counterparty know your customer (KYC) solutions. NRS is the U.S. leader in compliance and registration products and services for investment advisers, broker-dealers, hedge funds, investment companies and insurance institutions. NRS has the practical expertise, proven capability and unparalleled reach to deliver integrated and effective compliance solutions to a wide range of users within the financial services industry. NRS delivers these solutions through three interrelated offerings – comprehensive education, best-in-class technology and expert consulting services – enabling our clients to meet their regulatory requirements and minimize risk. For more information, visit or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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