Investments & Wealth Institute 2019 Member Profile Reveals Pivot to Holistic Wealth Planning


Investments & Wealth Institute 2019 Member Profile Reveals Pivot to Holistic Wealth Planning

Investments & Wealth Institute member composition is predominantly from independent channels

August 2019, DENVER/BOSTON - New findings from a joint survey issued by Investments & Wealth Institute® (formerly IMCA) and Cerulli Associates show that Investments & Wealth Institute member advisors are shifting their services to provide holistic advice.

Institute members are transforming their business models. Ten years ago, fewer than one in five Institute advisors operated in one of the independent advisory channels. Today, 45% of Institute advisor members are independent, either working in an independent RIA firm (23%), in an independent broker/dealer firm (9%), or in a dually-registered or hybrid firm (13%). In parallel, members are nearly twice as likely to report operating in a primarily fee-based practice relative to the industry average (62% vs. 38%, respectively). By 2020, members expect brokerage assets to make up just 10% of their client assets.

The survey also found that Institute members place an emphasis on holistic advice, with more than three-quarters (78%) of their clients receiving comprehensive or targeted financial planning advice. This is 10 percentage points higher than other industry advisors and is projected to rise another 7% by 2020.

Institute members are more likely than their peers to provide investment management due diligence. Members are also more likely to offer advanced financial planning services such as intergenerational planning, charitable planning, and trust services.

Due to the advanced education they receive through Institute offerings, member advisors are more confident in offering advanced financial planning and sophisticated investment solutions to their high-net-worth clients. For example, the survey found investment products such as hedge funds, options, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and real estate investment trusts more likely to be offered to an Institute advisor’s client than the average advisor’s client. Clients served by Institute members benefit from additional diversity in investment choice and performance.

“Advisors come to the Institute to expand their knowledge and skills to better serve existing and future clients,” said Sean R. Walters, CAE, chief executive officer, Investments & Wealth Institute. “Our unique blend of Ivy-League-quality education with practical application helps advisors deliver on that value every day.”

This survey was based on data Cerulli Associates collected from members of the Investments & Wealth Institute. Today, the Institute serves more than 12,700 members and certificants, up 20% since 2016. Cerulli found the Institute’s membership is made up of professionals from across the wealth management marketplace who provide investment consulting, financial planning, and wealth management services to retail clients, high-net-worth clients, and institutional clients. Almost 40% of Institute advisors serve a core market of households with more than $2 million in investable assets, and the average assets under management for Institute members is four times greater than the average advisor.

To access the full study, please visit


Established in 1985, the Investments & Wealth Institute, formerly IMCA, is a professional association, advanced education provider, and standards body for financial advisors, investment consultants, financial planners and wealth managers who embrace excellence and ethics. Investments & Wealth Institute administers three certifications, Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®), Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®), and Retirement Management Advisor® (RMA®). Through its publications, live events, online courses, assessment-based certificate programs, and advanced certifications, the Institute delivers premier-quality, practical education to advanced practitioners in more than 39 countries.

Headquartered in Boston with offices in London and Singapore, Cerulli Associates is a global research and consulting firm that provides financial institutions with guidance in strategic positioning and new business development. Our analysts blend industry knowledge, original research, and data analysis to bring perspective to current market conditions and forecasts for future developments.
Cerulli's research product line includes the Cerulli Report series, the Cerulli Edge series, and Cerulli Lodestar.


Devon Coquillard
Communications Manager
Investments & Wealth Institute
(303) 850-3202

Jenn Carangelo
Senior Marketing Associate
Cerulli Associates
(617) 841-1049

Karleen Fallon
Director, Marketing
Cerulli Associates
(617) 841-1005