How advisors drive results:
Latest insights

Listen to Lisa Salvi sum up key findings from the
2022 RIA Benchmarking Study. Explore the insights
and discover new opportunities for your firm.

How advisors drive results: Latest insights

Explore the top five insights from the 2022 study with 1,218 independent advisory participants. We'll highlight how our Guiding Principles for Advisory Firm Success, along with other resources, make it easy to take action.

Firms experienced tremendous growth.

Firms experienced tremendous growth

Effective strategic planning helped Top Performing Firms achieve twice as much annualized revenue growth from 2017 through 2021, compared with all other firms. The benchmarking research identified that more than three-quarters of Top Performing Firms have written strategic plans, demonstrating the power of Effective Planning and Execution. Learn how a documented strategic plan can help your firm.

RIA 5-year growth metrics¹







Clarity—on clients you serve best—can help win business.

Clarity—on clients you serve best—can help win business

Firms with a documented ideal client persona, client value proposition, and marketing plan attracted 42% more new clients and 45% more new client assets in 2021. This confirms Value Is Defined Through Your Clients' Eyes: Learn how to identify who you serve best and what matters most to them, so you can spotlight how your firm provides what they want.

Firms with a documented ideal client persona, client value proposition, and marketing plan


Organic growth from new and existing clients

Firms under $250M


Firms over $250M


More use of digital tools meant less time on operations.

More use of digital tools meant less time on operations

Top Performing Firms use standardized processes and digital workflows more often, spending nearly 20% less time annually per client on operations and administration than the median firm.2 Learn how Operational Excellence Creates Greater Capacity for Clients as digital tools reduce risk of fraud and rework for staff and clients.

Digital adoption across firms

Digital processes and workflows


Digital client onboarding


Productivity metrics across firms


Firms that formalized referral plans gained more clients.

Firms that formalized referral plans gained more clients

Because your Reputation is Your Brand, referrals are a key source of asset growth from new clients. And we know from the results of the 2022 report that documented referral plans help drive results. In fact, firms with existing client referral plans and business partner referral plans generated 1.5x and 2.5x more new clients, respectively, from those channels in 2021 than those firms without referral plans.

Drivers of new client asset growth in 2021


Firms with documented referral plans


Employee Value Proposition—a key talent differentiator.

Employee Value Proposition—a key talent differentiator

An EVP explains what a firm offers its employees in return for the skills, capabilities, and experiences they bring. Nearly 40% of all firms have a documented EVP, and Top Performing Firms are more likely to have one, demonstrating People Are Your Most Important Asset.

Firms with documented EVPs


Most popular elements included in firm EVPs


See the latest

Take a look at the most recent study data.

Participate in the study

Participate in the study

Understanding the best practices of other successful firms can help you more confidently make strategic decisions that delight clients and drive your firm forward. Gain those insights and many more by participating in the RIA Benchmarking Study—the largest study of its kind focusing on independent RIAs. Our 2022 study compiled data from 1,218 advisory firms representing more than $1.8 trillion in assets under management. Participating RIAs can compare their firms’ performance on hundreds of key metrics with those of their peer group to track progress against strategic goals and identify opportunities for growth.

Contact Schwab Advisor Services or visit our Resources to learn more about taking part in the RIA Benchmarking Study. 


1. Median results and compound annual growth rates (CAGR) over the 5-year period from year-end 2016 through 2021 by peer group (based on AUM). Results do not include those firms that experienced a merger or added a new partner during this period.

2. Median firm with $250 million or more in AUM.

3. Firms that have implemented more digital processes and workflows than the median firm with $250 million or more in AUM.

About the 2022 RIA Benchmarking Study  
Schwab designed this study to capture insights in the registered investment advisor (RIA) industry based on survey responses from individual firms. The 2022 study provides information on topics such as asset and revenue growth, sources of new clients, products and pricing, staffing, compensation, marketing, technology, and financial performance. Since the inception of the study in 2006, more than 4,300 firms have participated, with many repeat participants. Fielded from January to March 2022, the study contains self-reported data from 1,218 firms that custody their assets with Schwab and represents $1.8 trillion in assets under management, making this the leading study in the RIA industry. Schwab did not independently verify or validate the self-reported information. Participant firms represent various sizes and business models. They are categorized into seven peer groups by AUM size. 

The study is part of Schwab Business Consulting and Education, a practice management offering for RIAs. Grounded in the best practices of leading independent advisory firms, Business Consulting and Education provides insight, guidance, tools, and resources to help RIAs strategically manage and grow their firm.

Past performance is not an indicator of future results. 

Top Performing Firms are those that rank in the top 20% of the Firm Performance Index. The index evaluates all firms in the study according to 15 metrics to arrive at a holistic assessment of each firm's performance across key business areas.

Third-party firms and their employees are not affiliated with or employees of Schwab unless otherwise noted. This should not be construed as a recommendation, endorsement of, or sponsorship by Schwab. The views expressed are those of the third party and are provided for information purposes only. Experiences reflected are not a guarantee of future performance or success and may not be representative of your experience.

Data represent median results by peer group (based on AUM) unless otherwise noted.