Client assets at wealth management firms down 2.1% in 2018

Total client assets at U.S. wealth management firms dropped by 2.1% in 2018, the largest decline in over a decade, according to research by Aite Group.

The Boston-based research firm found that clearing and custody providers were the only segment that experienced an increase in overall assets from 2017, up $139 billion or 2% to $7.2 trillion.

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Assets at wirehouses declined by $433 billion, or 5.7%, effectively giving back 56% of the segment’s 2017 gain of $770 billion. Aite said.

The report, the latest in the firm’s series “New Realities in Wealth Management,” segments the U.S. wealth management industry into four key groups — wirehouses, self-clearing and retail brokers, clearing and custody providers, and online and discount brokers. Aite said the wirehouse segment experienced the greatest asset shrinkage of the four groups.

It said the industry’s 10-year compound annual growth rate of client assets now stands at 8%.