At the elite level, payouts for advisers remain high. But under this year's comp plans, wealth managers will see that executives have been tweaking around the edges, amending bonuses or upping deferred compensation.

For example, UBS and Wells Fargo have cut back on behavioral bonuses, notes Andy Tasnady, a compensation consultant.

In Wells Fargo's case, the parent company's account opening scandal may have played a factor, Tasnady says, adding that the fiduciary rule has heightened the focus on conflicts of interest and may have caused wirehouse and regional BD executives to reexamine their comp plans.

"Firms are maybe more cautious in the use of them and in terms of how they design them in order to avoid accusations of incentivizing the wrong kind of behavior," he says. "It's kind of a slippery slope because any kind of incentive could be accused of that."

So, which firm pays the most for a $2 million producer?

While the answer depends on a variety of factors given firms' many bonuses and penalties, a look at the starting points under various compensation plans can help indicate which firm indeed pays the most.

Our annual analysis of adviser pay at the wirehouse and regional broker-dealers helps elite advisers make that determination. Scroll through to see how comp plans stack up now.

To read last year's analysis, click here.

Data was collected by SourceMedia and analysis conducted by Tasnady & Associates.

A number of special policies are not included here since they do not affect 100% of the population evenly and therefore are more haphazard to compare. Individual results can vary dramatically, based on the mix of business and policies at each firm. For example, pay can rise from special bonuses and fall from penalties such as discount sharing, small client limits and ticket charges

Assumptions for basic pay (prior to special policies/contingent bonuses):
  • 25% in individual stocks; 25% in individual bonds, 25% in mutual funds; 25% in fee-based (wrap accounts, managed accounts, etc.)
  • Year-end basic bonuses are shown in Deferred totals.
  • Length of service is assumed to be 10 years.
  • Assumes no bonuses from growth, nor asset-based bonuses, or other behavior-based awards.
Also excludes voluntary deferral matches, 401(k) matches or profit sharing contributions unless otherwise noted.

Does not include: T&E expense allowance, discount sharing or ticket charge expense assumptions, small household or small ticket policy assumptions, or value of any options awards.