Attention asset managers: The Registered Investment Advisor channel, especially the $100 million to $500 million AUM segment, is one place where you can differentiate your offering in a crowded marketplace, according to a new report by Cerulli Associates.

Cerulli projects that RIAs, including dually registered advisors, will expand their marketshare of advisor- held assets to 14% by the end of 2012. Within the RIA channel, asset managers have traditionally targeted practices that have $500 million or more in assets under management. “Practices managing between $100 million and $500 million have been an enigma to the industry because these practices do not fit well within the existing external sales force service model,” according to the report.

As of year-end 2010, this segment expanded in asset marketshare to control 27% of RIA assets. “The $100 million to $500 million AUM segment represents a pocket of growth opportunities for product distributors. Service agents such as Schwab and Fidelity have actively recruited advisor teams to make the transition to owning and operating their own business. As the technology and product-access gap between the service agents and the wirehouses continues to narrow, Cerulli anticipates a continuation of the advisor movement trend to benefit the RIA channel.”

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