The imperative of succession planning in an industry in which the average advisor's 50th birthday is in the rear-view mirror is helping to reshape the dynamic on compensation. In researching and writing this month's cover story, we also were struck by how much the increasing professionalization of the RIA business and strategic growth goals were driving compensation trends at forward-thinking, progressive firms.

As Financial Planning senior editor Charles Paikert, the author of our compensation story, tells me, "Executives at these firms are truly convinced that if they do not adopt professional management tactics and strategies to increase both productivity of advisors and assets under management, they will be roadkill as the industry continues to consolidate. As a result," he says, "they are rapidly turning to incentives, bonuses and equity as a means to achieve that end." Increasingly, equity has become a key element in attracting, retaining and compensating top wealth managers.

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