As more earnings reports trickle in, it looks like both wirehouses and discount brokerage firms found it tough to attract new accounts and fresh transactional revenue last quarter.
TD Ameritrade reported that while it brought in $7.9 billion in new assets between April and June, average trades per day sank 11% over the applicable period of 2010.
Moreover, while the discount brokerage tried to spin the growth number in positive terms by framing it in terms of solid year-to-date growth, the fact is that quarter-to-quarter, new flows only came to 1.9% of the company's AUM.
And if anything, growth has slowed over both the first quarter of this year and the second quarter of last year.
Newly created RIAs keep joining the company's custody platform at a steady pace of roughly 90 per quarter -- not a flood of new activity, but not tailing off either.
These RIAs come from firms like Merrill Lynch, which also had a somewhat slow quarter. While Merrill's year-over-year comps remain positive, nearly every major metric -- AUM, income, average production per advisor -- came in flat to lower.
Merrill added a net 585 advisors last quarter, leaving the head count of the Thundering Herd at 16,241. But total client AUM slipped from $1.55 trillion last quarter to $1.54 trillion -- still up over last year, but that lost $10 billion left all those extra advisors a bit hungry for assets.
On average, each Merrill advisor now manages $94.8 million, or 4% less than he or she did three months ago.
And with overall revenue down 1.3% quarter to quarter, each advisor generated $894,000 in trailing 12-month commissions and fees, compared to $931,000 in the first three months of 2011.
For both Merrill and TDA, the trend is clear: strong numbers over last year, but a real slowdown in growth compared to just a few months ago.