Wire houses are losing out in the competition for high net worth assets. Recent research by Cerulli shows market share dropping to 45% from a high of 56% in 2007. The trend has been developing for a good while but this is the first time wire houses have slipped from the number one spot.
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of wire houses has also dwindled. There are now only four—Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Wells Fargo, and UBS. With Morgan Stanley trying to sell its Smith Barney unit, that number could soon become three.
Technological developments and changes in the marketplace are fueling the trend. Multi-family offices and independent RIAs are offering clients unbiased advice. They continue to attract clients as their focus increases on integrated wealth management instead of selling product.