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Expect RIAs to flex their marketing muscles this year, and ramp up spending on certain operational initiatives such as hiring younger advisers.

Planners say they expect to see increases in revenue and client assets in 2017, according to the latest TD Ameritrade Institutional RIA Sentiment Survey. Accordingly, they plan to rev up spending on marketing, business development and technologies such as electronic signatures, the survey revealed. Also in the works: initiatives like more networking to attract a new generation of clients.

While RIAs continue to be the fastest growing financial advice channel, TD Ameritrade Institutional President Tom Nally cautions that advisers "have to find ways to navigate the myriad market forces converging on the industry if they want to keep growing.”

For the time being, however, RIAs appear to be surprisingly complacent: eight in 10 firms surveyed did not think robo advisers were a threat and said that the new fiduciary rule hasn't impacted their business. -- Charles Paikert