OnWallStreet's annual ranking of top wirehouses and regional broker-dealer firms in the employee advisory channel gives an encouraging snapshot of the wealth management industry. This year’s analysis from surveys and both corporate and public filings shows growth across the board.

Still on top, in terms of total revenues among the wirehouses, is Bank of America Merrill Lynch. And holding their positions from last year are Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and UBS. Among the regionals, Edward Jones remains No. 1.

Associate Editor Andrew Welsch details in our cover story how several players are working to continue their growth trajectories.

Royal Bank of Canada is looking to expand its wealth management and capital markets units through the firm’s business activities and possible acquisitions, says incoming CEO David McCay. John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management in the U.S., also sees the potential for boosting advisor productivity. “That’s the single most important initiative we’ve had and will have going forward,” he says.

Meanwhile, UBS is making the shift to comprehensive wealth management, a sometimes glacial process, says Bob Mulholland, head of the client advisory group. “Transformation in and of itself denotes that it’s going to take some time,” he says, explaining how the firm is pacing itself with advisor support and training.

Similarly, Bank of America Merrill Lynch wants to provide a comprehensive approach, using technology that will help advisors accomplish more.   “We’ve been making a lot of investment in productivity tools to make our advisors much more efficient,” says John Thiel, head of the firm’s U.S. wealth management and private investment group. Wedbush, among the independents nimble enough to put technology to work more quickly than the wirehouses, says innovation even proves useful for recruitment and retention purposes.

Insights from these firms helped OWS put together a must-read package, highlighting what it takes to lead the industry— at least until next year.

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