While many think of wirehouse advisors as old and stodgy, the IBD channel actually employs the oldest guys in the business. Data published in IMCA’s quarterly research report by Cerulli Associates shows that IBD advisors’ average age is 53.4 years old, compared to wirehouse advisors, who are only 51 on average.
Independent broker-dealers have the largest percentage of advisors over 65 (16 percent) and the smallest percentage of younger reps under 35 (6 percent). Cerulli reports the wirehouse channel, meanwhile, has 8 percent of advisors who are under 35 and only 10 percent who are over 65-years-old.
Some of this can be attributed to advisors' reluctance to take hiring in recent years, says Kenton Shirk, associate director at Cerulli Associates. "In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, many independent practices were concerned about profitability and were less willing to make the high investment of time and money to groom a junior." Additionally, advisors entering the business within the last five years faced a challenging environment in seeking to build a book of clients from scratch.
Surprisingly, even the RIA channel is older than the wirehouses, with an average advisor age of 52.1. The youngest channel? The banks, where advisors’ average age is 45.4. Across the industry, the average age of advisors is 50.9.
Cerulli also reports approximately 43 percent of all advisors are over 55, up from 39 percent in 2012.
Updated: This story was updated April 2, 2014 to include comments from Kenton Shirk.