Sales of advisory services led the increase in revenue, increasing by one-third, the study found.
“Advisory revenue has for the first time surpassed general securities revenue and is now greater than the combined revenue from general securities and life insurance,” Peter Bielan, a principal of Kehrer Saltzman & Associates, said in a statement.
Sales of packaged investment products – annuities and mutual funds – increased 9% during 2011. The product mix, however, shifted toward annuities. Variable annuity and fixed annuity sales were up 29% and 3%, respectively, while mutual fund sales slipped 3%.
Revenue from life insurance sales was flat in 2011. However, because overall investment services revenue grew 10%, the share of revenue from life insurance slipped from 3.1% in 2010 to 2.8% last year.
"The sales growth of life-based hybrid long-term care products remained strong in 2011, but the continued low interest-rate environment has put downward pressure on the benefits and commissions associated with these products,” Steve Saltzman, the firm’s managing principal, said in a statement.
The study also found that financial advisor productivity improved almost 7%, to $224,856 of gross revenue per advisor, following a 24% jump in 2010.
The firm’s annual report is based on a survey of 1,954 banks and 830 credit unions, which account for more than 90% of all banks and more than 85% of all credit unions offering investment services. They employ 6,234 financial advisors and 5,180 platform representatives licensed to provide investment and insurance services.