CNBC enlisted data provider AccuPoint Solutions to assist with the ranking of registered investment advisors for this year’s FA 100 list.
The methodology consisted of first analyzing a variety of core data points from AccuPoint Solutions’ proprietary database of registered investment advisors. This analysis started with an initial list of 39,818 RIA firms from the Securities and Exchange Commission regulatory database. Through a process, the list was eventually cut to 904 RIAs, with those firms meeting CNBC’s proprietary criteria.
CNBC staff sent an extensive email survey to all those firms that met the initial criteria to gather more details. In turn, those advisory firms wishing to be ranked filled out the comprehensive application in regard to their practice. The CNBC team verified that data with those firms and with the SEC regulatory database. AccuPoint once again applied CNBC’s proprietary weighted categories to further refine and rank the firms, ultimately creating the list of the top 100.
CNBC does not charge any type of fee to advisors to be listed in the annual ranking.
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The primary data points used in the analysis were reviewed, either as a minimum baseline or within a range, eliminating those firms that did not meet CNBC’s requirements. Once the initial list was compiled, weightings were also applied accordingly. These data points included:
- Advisory firm’s regulatory/compliance record (editor’s note: Any firm that had a disclosure on its SEC ADV was automatically disqualified from the ranking)
- Number of years in the business
- Number of certified financial planners
- Number of employees
- Number of investment advisors registered with the firm
- The ratio of investment advisors to total number of employees
- Total assets under management
- Percentage of discretionary assets under management
- Total accounts under management
- Number of states where the RIA is registered
- Country of domicile.