Welcome to the final installment of FTAdviser's Top 100 Financial Advisers list, our annual ranking of businesses that have proven over the past 12 months they have what it takes to flourish.
We've been counting down 25 firms a day this week, and now reach the culmination of that process with the top 25 financial advice firms.
That's not the only change. Our Top 100 is again compiled using data from the Financial Clarity service offered by Matrix Solutions, an ISS Market Intelligence company, and those statistics continue to form the backbone of our rankings.
But all advisers will know that quantitative analysis alone is only part of the picture. Clients don't just want an adviser who can put their money to work: they also want someone they can trust, and a business that upholds the highest professional standards.
So this year, for the first time, our list has rewarded firms that are either chartered by the CII or accredited by the CISI at a company level.
These standards aren't a silver-bullet answer to the question of how to ensure the advice industry retains the trust of its clients in the years ahead. But they are an indicator of the kind of businesses that have their clients' best intentions at heart, and conduct themselves in a professional manner.
We think that incorporating these achievements into our rankings makes the list a more useful assessment of how the industry is faring.
What the list measures
In addition to this year's introduction of chartered or accredited company status, our rankings retain all the other metrics used in previous years.
That means we also look at the growth rate of advisory businesses, AUM and asset retention, the number of years’ experience each business has managing assets in different economic and interest-rate environments, and how well qualified their individual advisers are.
In order to check how advisers are managing their clients’ investments, Matrix Solutions used data received directly via their Financial Clarity product from fund managers covering 90 per cent of the retail investment market, plus 16 of the nation’s biggest investment platforms. In most cases, that means advice companies’ own platforms are not included.
As a result, the Top 100 Financial Advisers list incorporates not a company’s stated level of AUM, but rather the amount held on those 16 investment platforms and with most of the nation’s biggest fund houses. They assets in retail advisory investments and pensions, reported to Matrix Solutions via Financial Clarity. The likes of DFM assets are not included. Further details of the methodology are available on this page.
You can also click here for the complete Top 100, or alternatively here for a comprehensive table featuring all of the key metrics. The latest edition of Financial Adviser, hitting your desks (or kitchen tables) today, also features a range of Top 100 coverage. But for now, the companies ranked 1 to 25 on this year's list can be found over the page.