IBD Elite 2020: Which independent broker-dealers produce the most revenue?

The largest independent broker-dealers at first glance can seem like a motley variety of businesses. But take a deeper look. Their outsize impact on wealth management adds up to tens of billions of dollars annually.

Among the top 25 largest firms participating in Financial Planning’s annual IBD Elite survey, the ranks include publicly traded giants, insurer affiliates, private equity-backed companies and private concerns. Within those general distinctions, the networks made up of independent subsidiaries run their business in different ways than firms who operate under a single brand.

For the first time in 2020, single entries reflect the full breadth of revenue across two IBD networks — Advisor Group and Cetera Financial Group — as well as a multibrand wealth management holding company called Atria Wealth Solutions. A fourth PE-financed firm, Kestra Financial, owns a smaller IBD but lists it separately.

The new format with no separate listing for networks places Advisor Group and Cetera among the top five firms in the sector. Their position on the main list also comes after Advisor Group acquired Ladenburg Thalmann — which would have been the only other network.

Even with Advisor Group growing under its $1.3 billion deal, the No. 1 firm kept the same position it has held for nearly 20 years. LPL Financial’s revenue surged 8% year-over-year in 2019 to $5.62 billion, or 18% of the entire sector’s $31.2 billion. LPL is also adapting some of the methods of its rivals, with a new breakaway channel and upcoming employee affiliation.

All but two of the 25 largest firms grew in 2019, but the economic turmoil from the coronavirus could tamp down their business this year. Interest rates that are closely tied to IBD earnings don’t appear likely to rise until after the virus stops infecting people and wreaking economic havoc.

To view the top 25 firms by annual revenue in the IBD sector, scroll down the slideshow. For last year’s list, click here. Some firms’ positions in last year’s rankings are different in the newest edition, due to firms that have sold or revised their figures for 2018.

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American Portfolios Financial Services
Headquarters: Holbrook, New York

Year founded: 2001

Chief executive: Lon Dolber

Total 2019 revenue: $227,503,000

% change year-over-year: 4.3%

2019 ranking: #25

2018 ranking: #24
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Principal Securities
Headquarters: Des Moines, Iowa

Year founded: 1968

Chief executive: Michael Murray

Total 2019 revenue: $320,670,000

% change year-over-year: 1.4%

2019 ranking: #23

2018 ranking: #22
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Lincoln Investment Planning
Headquarters: Fort Washington, Pennsylvania

Year founded: 1958

Chief executive: Edward Forst

Total 2019 revenue: $343,349,000

% change year-over-year: 1.9%

2019 ranking: #22

2018 ranking: #21
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Securian Financial Services
Headquarters: St. Paul

Year founded: 1984

Chief executive: George Connolly

Total 2019 revenue: $369,300,000

% change year-over-year: 0.2%

2019 ranking: #21

2018 ranking: #20
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SagePoint Financial
Network: Advisor Group

Headquarters: Phoenix

Year founded: 1970

Chief executive: Jeff Auld

Total 2019 revenue: $415,464,000

% change year-over-year: 2.4%

2019 ranking: #20

2018 ranking: #17
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Atria Wealth Solutions
Headquarters: New York

Year founded: 2017

Chief executive: Doug Ketterer

Total 2019 revenue: $439,312,000

% change year-over-year: N/A

2019 ranking: #19

2018 ranking: N/A
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Voya Financial Advisors
Headquarters: Des Moines, Iowa

Year founded: 1991

Chief executive: Tom Halloran

Total 2019 revenue: $477,173,000

% change year-over-year: 4.0%

2019 ranking: #18

2018 ranking: #16
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Woodbury Financial Services
Network: Advisor Group

Headquarters: Oakdale, Minnesota

Year founded: 1969

Chief executive: Rick Fergesen

Total 2019 revenue: $498,080,000

% change year-over-year: 33.3%

2019 ranking: #17

2018 ranking: #18
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Avantax Wealth Management
Headquarters: Irving, Texas

Year founded: 1983

Chief executive: Todd Mackay

Total 2019 revenue: $507,979,000

% change year-over-year: 36.1%

2019 ranking: #16

2018 ranking: #19
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Waddell & Reed
Headquarters: Overland Park, Kansas

Year founded: 1937

Chief executive: Shawn Mihal

Total 2019 revenue: $513,832,000

% change year-over-year: (1.7%)

2019 ranking: #15

2018 ranking: #15
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Kestra Financial
Headquarters: Austin, Texas

Year founded: 1997

Chief executive: James Poer

Total 2019 revenue: $570,684,000

% change year-over-year: 3.9%

2019 ranking: #14

2018 ranking: #14
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Securities America
Network: Advisor Group

Headquarters: La Vista, Nebraska

Year founded: 1984

Chief executive: Jim Nagengast

Total 2019 revenue: $729,500,000

% change year-over-year: 4.1%

2019 ranking: #13

2018 ranking: #12
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Lincoln Financial Network
Headquarters: Philadelphia

Year founded: 1905

Chief executive: David Berkowitz

Total 2019 revenue: $847,224,000

% change year-over-year: 8.3%

2019 ranking: #12

2018 ranking: #11
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Equitable Advisors
Headquarters: New York

Year founded: 1999

Chief executive: David Karr

Total 2019 revenue: $945,651,000

% change year-over-year: 3.5%

2019 ranking: #11

2018 ranking: #9
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Royal Alliance Associates
Network: Advisor Group

Headquarters: Jersey City, New Jersey

Year founded: 1969

Chief executive: Dmitry Goldin

Total 2019 revenue: $961,063,000

% change year-over-year: 59.1%

2019 ranking: #10

2018 ranking: #13
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Cambridge Investment Research
Headquarters: Fairfield, Iowa

Year founded: 1981

Chief executive: Amy Webber

Total 2019 revenue: $1,000,551,000

% change year-over-year: 10.4%

2019 ranking: #9

2018 ranking: #10
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MML Investors Services
Parent: MassMutual

Headquarters: Springfield, Massachusetts

Year founded: 1981

Chief executive: John Vaccaro

Total 2019 revenue: $1,184,702,000

% change year-over-year: 5.2%

2019 ranking: #8

2018 ranking: #8
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Northwestern Mutual
Headquarters: Milwaukee

Year founded: 1968

Chief executive: Evamarie Schoenborn

Total 2019 revenue: $1,351,248,000

% change year-over-year: 10.8%

2019 ranking: #7

2018 ranking: #7
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Commonwealth Financial Network
Headquarters: Waltham, Massachusetts

Year founded: 1979

Chief executive: Wayne Bloom

Total 2019 revenue: $1,552,749,000

% change year-over-year: 8.9%

2019 ranking: #6

2018 ranking: #6
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Cetera Financial Group
Headquarters: El Segundo, California

Year founded: 2010

Chief executive: Adam Antoniades

Total 2019 revenue: $1,924,289,000

% change year-over-year: 2.5%

2019 ranking: #5

2018 ranking: #5
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Raymond James Financial Services
Headquarters: St. Petersburg, Florida

Year founded: 1974

Chief executive: Scott Curtis

Total 2019 revenue: $2,611,443,000

% change year-over-year: 6.5%

2019 ranking: #4

2018 ranking: #4
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Advisor Group
Headquarters: Phoenix

Year founded: 2016

Chief executive: Jamie Price

Total 2019 revenue: $3,363,471,000

% change year-over-year: 18.1%

2019 ranking: #3

2018 ranking: #3
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Ameriprise
Headquarters: Minneapolis

Year founded: 1894

Chief executive: Jim Cracchiolo

Total 2019 revenue: $5,068,504,000

% change year-over-year: 5.5%

2019 ranking: #2

2018 ranking: #2
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LPL Financial
Headquarters: Boston; San Diego; Fort Mill, South Carolina

Year founded: 1968

Chief executive: Dan Arnold

Total 2019 revenue: $5,624,856,000

% change year-over-year: 8.4%

2019 ranking: #1

2018 ranking: #1
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