The Investment Management Consultants Association attracted enough independent advisors to boost its overall membership almost 7% in 2011.

Membership in the organization stood at more than 8,400 at the end of last year, the group said in a release. Among the general membership, participation from independents, including RIAs, increased about six percentage points to 27%, up from 21% in 2010.

The group detailed its membership analysis in the report “2011 Profile: Taking the Pulse of IMCA,” compiled with Boston-based research firm Cerulli Associates. “We’ve been pushing the marketing for the last three, four years now, and we’re starting to see those numbers swing up,” IMCA Executive Director Sean Walters said in an interview.

The IMCA-Cerulli report detailed independent advisors’ impact on the organization. The analysis found that: among the 27.2% of IMCA members who are independent, 14.2% are RIAs, and 7.7% are dually registered. Also, almost 85% of IMCA advisors and consultants provide fee-only or fee-based advice.

The organization awards the Certified Investment Management Analysts (CIMA) designation, and Walters said more independent advisors are attaining it as they respond to client demands for more sophisticated investment management advice.

Also, the group began offering the Certified Private Wealth Advisor designation in 2008, which has also helped attract independent advisors who counsel wealthy households.

When broken down by practice type, 7.4% of IMCA members are financial planners; 14.5% are wealth managers; 17.3% are asset management and wholesaler firms; 48.5% are investment consultants; and 11.9% say their affiliation is ‘other.’

Among other findings in the IMCA-Cerulli report: 56% of all members work for national wirehouse firms and nearly 60% of IMCA members’ clients have a net worth between $500,000 and $2 million.

Donna Mitchell writes for Financial Planning.














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