RIA Margins

I know this will vary depending on a lot of different factors, but does anyone know what a typical RIA's margins are? For example, say you have $1B AUM. If you take, say, 1.25% and are paying for referrals and everything maybe you wind up with 80 bps net and then maybe 40 bps for salaries/expenses. Leaving you with $4 MM pretax. Are these pretty fair assumptions?

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Comments (3)

Best Response
Apr 10, 2013 - 10:36pm

Probably not. It depends a lot on the average size of the client. If we're talking about a few 9 figure clients, the fees will be a lot lower than if it's 1,000 million dollar accounts. 1.25% seems really high in most cases. The client pays the fees of the underlying funds/separate accounts in addition to the fee for the advice of the RIA. Also, most of these firms will be set up as pass through entities, so you have to assume a fair market wage for the people running the shop. Basically, you're dealing with people that are sort of a 'broker' in terms of how they get compensated. The going rate at places like Merrill/Morgan Stanley is about a 50% payout. That doesn't cover ops/compliance/whatever other overhead you have.

If you look up some form ADV part II forms for some target RIAs, they should have their published fee schedule as well as their AUM. This should give you a good starting point. You should assume that the actual fees charged will be less than published rates because they will have special deals for their largest clients. Median and average account sizes can often be radically different as well.

What are you doing this for?

Apr 10, 2013 - 10:41pm

SirTradesaLot:
Probably not. It depends a lot on the average size of the client. If we're talking about a few 9 figure clients, the fees will be a lot lower than if it's 1,000 million dollar accounts. 1.25% seems really high in most cases. The client pays the fees of the underlying funds/separate accounts in addition to the fee for the advice of the RIA. Also, most of these firms will be set up as pass through entities, so you have to assume a fair market wage for the people running the shop. Basically, you're dealing with people that are sort of a 'broker' in terms of how they get compensated. The going rate at places like Merrill/Morgan Stanley is about a 50% payout. That doesn't cover ops/compliance/whatever other overhead you have.

If you look up some form ADV part II forms for some target RIAs, they should have their published fee schedule as well as their AUM. This should give you a good starting point. You should assume that the actual fees charged will be less than published rates because they will have special deals for their largest clients. Median and average account sizes can often be radically different as well.

What are you doing this for?

Good Points! I'm looking into it mostly out of curiosity. Thinking about maybe going down this route in the distant future.

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