Although the unemployment rate in the U.S. is 9%, three-quarters of broker-dealers and registered investment advisors plan to hire in the next 12 months, and they plan to boost their staff by an average of 30%, Fidelity Investments found in a survey.

Sixty percent said that adding new clients is their No. 1 driver of profitability this year, up from 43% last year.

Forty-three percent plan to hire advisers or brokers who have an existing book of business, and 19% plan to train existing staff to assume an adviser or broker role. Although 62% said that ongoing industry consolidation has had no impact on hiring, 32% said it has made it easier to recruit.

“Growth is top-of-mind for many broker-dealers and RIAs—something that we heard loud and clear from the hundreds of clients we just hosted at our conference,” said Scott W. Dell’Orfano, executive vice president of sales at Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services. “A strong focus on recruitment, especially as a component of a broader client acquisition strategy, is extremely good news for the industry and speaks to an overall confidence for its continued growth and success.”

 Bobbi Masiello, executive vice president of relationship management at National Financial, Fidelity’s broker-dealer, added: “There is no doubt money is in motion, whether from investors moving firm relationships or brokers and advisers going independent and brining client assets with them. Regardless of the business model they choose, we are able to work closely with our clients to offer them the resources, such as a sophisticated technology platform, they need to help them aggressively recruit brokers and advisers, as well as attract affluent investors.”

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