It’s been a busy 2021 for wealth management, a year populated by record M&A deals, meme stocks, mega recruiting moves and office reopenings. As part of our newly redesigned Barron’s Advisor, we’ve been keeping advisors up to date on these and other trends.
To help you prepare for the new year, we’ve drawn up a short list of who’s likely to make headlines in 2022. Each of the names below—some familiar to advisors, others perhaps less so—are poised to make waves big and small.
Note that this list—an informed but admittedly subjective take—is not ranked but appears in alphabetical order. We encourage you to use the comments feature to add wealth management leaders whom you’ll be keeping tabs on next year.
LPL Financial CEO Dan Arnold: Arnold has been CEO since 2017, but 2021 may have been his busiest year so far as LPL added thousands of advisors thanks to aggressive recruiting and key deals, including its acquisition of Waddell & Reed’s wealth management business. The company has also launched new units geared toward wirehouse and other employee advisors, and it’s aiming to expand its RIA custody business. Next year will be an opportunity for the firm to build on this year’s efforts, including an expansion of its nascent employee advisor unit.
SEC Chairman Gary Gensler: The SEC has a lot of pressing matters on its agenda, but for advisors and wealth management firms the future of Regulation Best Interest is top of mind. The controversial rule was finalized under Gensler’s predecessor, and it has faced ongoing criticism from investor advocates and others. A recent report by a group of state regulators shows an increase in the number of firms offering complex, costly, or risky products since Reg BI took effect—suggesting the rule isn’t having quite the effect that some regulators hoped for. The question is: How far will Gensler go in updating standards of conduct for advisors and brokers?
Fidelity Investments CEO Abigail Johnson: Fidelity, one of the industry’s biggest custodians for RIAs, has had a busy 2021 that included a huge hiring spree in response to an influx of new investors. RIAs who custody with Fidelity have also been growing, adding new clients and assets. Like other firms, Fidelity has been upping its investment in its technology, for example rolling out digital upgrades and new features for advisors, such as fractional trading. Direct indexing could be on the horizon for independent advisors who custody with the firm.
J.P. Morgan Wealth Management CEO Kristin Lemkau: J.P. Morgan is making a play for a bigger slice of the wealth management market, and Lemkau has been overseeing the firm’s strategy. She’s hired several key executives, including Phil Sieg, a former Merrill Lynch leader who now heads J.P. Morgan Advisors. The company has ambitious growth plans on tap, including a big advisor hiring spree. Look to see if Lemkau makes headway in 2022.
CI Financial CEO Kurt MacAlpine: This year, MacAlpine oversaw one of the most aggressive RIA acquisition sprees in an industry that has been breaking records for M&A deals among independent advisory firms. Valuations have soared and increasing numbers of aging advisors have been cashing out. MacAlpine recently unveiled potential changes to the firm’s deal structure for acquiring RIAs. Can the chief executive maintain this breakneck pace in 2022?
Financial Planning Association CEO Patrick Mahoney: The FPA is one of the profession’s oldest and largest associations, but of late it’s suffered from declining membership, which dropped to about 19,000 earlier this year from about 24,500 members at the end of 2015. Mahoney, who took the helm full time earlier this year, is seeking to revitalize the organization and renew its relevance to advisors and the industry at large. Obstacles have included the coronavirus pandemic, which prevented the FPA from hosting its regular suite of in-person conferences. Next year may be the proving ground as to whether he can stem, and even reverse, declining membership.
Emlen Miles-Mattingly, founder of Gen Next Wealth; Dasarte Yarnway, founder of Berknell Financial Group: These RIA founders and podcasters have teamed up to launch a new advisor network aimed at helping planners from underrepresented groups get a start in the profession. Onyx Advisor Network, set to debut in January, will cater to minority, women, and LGBTQ+ advisors, offering them a technology stack and access to other services. With the ranks of financial advisors still overwhelmingly white and male, look to 2022 and beyond to see how Miles-Mattingly and Yarnway succeed in opening doors to more diverse newcomers.
Hannah Moore, owner of Guiding Wealth: When Covid-19’s appearance prompted firms to scuttle in-person internships, Moore, a planner and advocate for the profession, helped organize a virtual internship program for aspiring financial planners via the Financial Planning Association. The FPA renewed the eight-week program this summer and attracted 900 participants, helping to seed the profession with a new crop of future planners. This year, Moore also launched Amplified Planning, a video training resource for financial planners.
Tyrone Ross, CEO and co-founder of Onramp Invest: Advisors that know Ross from his advocacy for financial literacy and his bigTwitter presence may also want to keep tabs on the crypto asset management platform he co-founded, dubbed Onramp Invest. The firm recently combined forces with Ritholtz Wealth Management and asset manager WisdomTree on a crypto index for financial advisors and clients. Onramp is supplying the SMA architecture, rebalancing technology, and customer support. Next year may test advisors’ appetite for such services.