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Slideshow

IBD Elite 2019: Which firms have the most fee-based assets?

Fee-based assets managed by the 10 independent broker-dealers with the highest AUM have surged by nearly $300 billion in the past five years.

The shifting group of the top 10 IBDs in AUM boosted their combined fee-based assets by 60% to $771.2 billion between 2014 and 2018, according to data submitted by firms participating in Financial Planning’s annual IBD Elite study. A 1% drop from 2017 brought on by equity volatility at the end of the year didn’t do much to diminish the substantial long-term growth.

LPL Financial and Raymond James Financial Services each had more than double the fee-based assets of any amount disclosed by any other firm at the end of 2018. Privately-held stalwarts Commonwealth Financial Network and Cambridge Investment Research also made the top 10 list, alongside one Ladenburg Thalmann firm and two Advisor Group IBDs.

With IBDs boosting their share of advisory fees to nearly half of overall revenue from less than a fourth over the past decade, their business models are changing. Planning has moved to the forefront, while transactional sales are losing their traditionally prominent position in the sector.

AUM has emerged as a key metric — and firms aren’t always eager to share it: three of the top 10 firms in the space didn’t submit their total advisory assets. The self-reported AUM includes those of hybrid RIAs and firms’ other advisory platforms, in addition to their corporate RIAs.

To see the list of IBDs ranked by their fee-based assets, scroll down our slideshow. To view the firms with the largest fee-based mix of business in 2018, click here. For the full recap of the year in the IBD space, “Time to celebrate? Not just yet,” click here.

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AXA Advisors
Fee-based assets: $24,589,900,000
Total client assets: $130,050,400,000
% advisory AUM: 18.9%
Total revenue in 2018: $913,766,000
IBD Elite rank: #7
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Kestra Financial
Fee-based assets: $24,599,096,000
Total client assets: $77,348,772,000
% advisory AUM: 31.8%
Total revenue in 2018: $549,198,000
IBD Elite rank: #13
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Royal Alliance Associates
Fee-based assets: $25,565,419,000
Total client assets: $103,276,801,000
% advisory AUM: 24.8%
Total revenue in 2018: $603,934,000
IBD Elite rank: #12
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FSC Securities
Fee-based assets: $26,628,145,000
Total client assets: $36,628,145,000
% advisory AUM: 72.7%
Total revenue in 2018: $305,578,000
IBD Elite rank: #24
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Securities America
Fee-based assets: $39,200,000,000
Total client assets: $86,100,000,000
% advisory AUM: 45.5%
Total revenue in 2018: $803,500,000
IBD Elite rank: #9
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MassMutual's MML Investors Services
Fee-based assets: $41,800,000,000
Total client assets: $181,600,000,000
% advisory AUM: 23.0%
Total revenue in 2018: $1,126,479,000
IBD Elite rank: #5
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Cambridge Investment Research
Fee-based assets: $50,621,378,000
Total client assets: $93,145,840,000
% advisory AUM: 54.3%
Total revenue in 2018: $906,666,000
IBD Elite rank: #8
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Commonwealth Financial Network
Fee-based assets: $85,220,000,000
Total client assets: $161,053,212,000
% advisory AUM: 52.9%
Total revenue in 2018: $1,425,306,000
IBD Elite rank: #4
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Raymond James Financial Services
Fee-based assets: $170,980,000,000
Total client assets: $327,099,000,000
% advisory AUM: 52.3%
Total revenue in 2018: $2,410,000
IBD Elite rank: #3
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LPL Financial
Fee-based assets: $282,035,669,000
Total client assets: $628,066,886
% advisory AUM: 44.9%
Total revenue in 2018: $5,188,400,000
IBD Elite rank: #1