This year when we set out to see how the top firms fared in wealth management in our annual broker-dealer survey, we also wanted to see what those wirehouse and regional firms are doing to make sure they hold onto those top slots.

And the results were surprising. When it comes to key areas like training the next generation, succession planning for retiring advisors, adopting new technology tools or tackling new regulatory rules, all of these firms are approaching these tasks head on.

Take Merrill Lynch, which has now placed more stringent standards on its training program that dates back to 1946. Or look at regional firms Ameriprise and Raymond James, which are working to make sure advisors make the smoothest transition out of the business. Wirehouse and regional firms alike are tacking on the latest technologies to traditional planning processes.

We also hear from John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management in the U.S. and great grandson of U.S. President William Howard Taft, on what new regulations mean for the industry. What's more, Taft predicts how firms adapt now will determine if they are still on top five years from now. "There are going to be firms that respond well and firms that respond poorly," he predicts.

Understanding what the industry will need to do to regain client trust was a big topic with wealth management leaders from Merrill Lynch, Stifel and UBS at a recent industry conference. As UBS executive Robert Mulholland puts it when it comes to responsibility, "We are the adults in the room."

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