The wealth management industry is poised to become more concentrated and consolidated, according to industry predication's by Mark Hurley, chairman and CEO of the Fiduciary Network -- a viewpoint that's at odds with some advisors. 

Within a decade, only about 150 large, profitable wealth management firms will dominate wealth management, according to a new forecast co-authored by Hurley. "The ultimate shape of this industry a decade from now is one in which 150 or so extremely profitable, large firms will manage the vast preponderance of assets," according to the firm's report, Brave New World of Wealth Management. "The industry’s remaining 19,000 participants...will remain in business indefinitely [but] be marginally profitable and have little enterprise value."

Some advisors, however, say that this viewpoint -- a very dismal outlook for the smaller RIA players -- is dated. Yes, the RIA market may become slightly more consolidated. Wide-scale consolidation and concentration in the space may have been the thinking 10 to 20 years ago, but the growing number of outsourcers has changed the rules of the game, says Peter McGratty, vice president of business development at Pinnacle Advisor Solutions. "The question now isn't about consolidation, it's about who has economies of scale."

Today, RIAs are able to achieve economies of scale through outsourced providers  The need for economies of scale would have forced consolation in the past, McGratty says, pointing to online directory Virtual Advisor Solutions as a case in point.        

Amid Hurley's dire predictions for the "little guys," the RIA market is thriving on many accounts. Take recent research from Boston-based global analytics firm Cerulli Associates, which says that RIA assets are expected to account for approximately a quarter of industry asset marketshare by the end of next year.

Another piece of bright news:'s recent assertion that financial planning ranks fifth among 200 professions as one of the best jobs in 2013. 

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