RIA Intel’s Best Stories of 2021 — Exclusives and Narratives Readers Have Come to Expect

The articles worth revisiting from another remarkable year.



A year ago, when RIA Intel highlighted its best stories from 2020, few people had received a Covid-19 vaccine. But as millions of shots went into arms this year — and the world gained health, hope and some certainty — U.S. stocks notched new highs and the wealth management industry continued to grow and evolve.

RIA Intel was there to chronicle that in ways readers continue to expect and reward with their time.

The publication was the first to report that F. William McNabb III, the former chief executive and chairman of Vanguard Group, invested in and joined the board of Altruist, the upstart software provider to RIAs. And RIA Intel was the first to report details of Schwab Advisor Services’ new advisor referral program, a combination of its existing one and another that came with the purchase of TD Ameritrade. It exclusively reported new research on client interest in different fee models, and other news, too.

More women and diverse professionals are choosing to become financial advisors. Still, the industry is falling short of its diversity goals and RIA Intel continued to report why sought-after groups remain elusive and are more likely to leave the industry, and what advisors are doing about it.

Early this year, some of the 7,000 advisors who custody with TD Ameritrade spoke out about poor service. When RIA Intel asked about the complaints RIAs were making, the custodian did not refute any. Schwab and TD Ameritrade later said the deterioration in service had “nothing to do” with their merger.

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Growing interest in alternative investments led to deeply reported features about wine and hedge funds (including a fascinating profile of one obscure manager), and a surge in the number of advisors seeking the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation. No news publication for advisors covered CAIS IQ’s “Netflix magic” helping advisors learn about alternatives, or venture capital firm Mammoth Scientific’s aspirations to build a VC platform for wealth managers, the way RIA Intel did.

Many companies raised capital and grew significantly this year, some not as quickly as planned.

Unfamiliar with CDAs? One company is betting on their future popularity — if it can convince RIAs they are worthwhile.

Like years past, readers loved the exhaustive Big Question interviews in 2021. That’s not a surprise, considering the interviewees: economist David Rosenberg, Spectrum Impact founder and CEO Rehana Nathoo, author and head of Consilient Research at Morgan Stanley Michael Mauboussin, and “financial pop star” Haley Sacks (best known on social media as Mrs. Dow Jones).

RIA Intel helped those in wealth management share tragedies, about a family member and a colleague they lost.

More advisors are considering selling their business, or buying someone else’s, so RIA Intel asked a wealth manager what he learned while acquiring 50 RIAs. It also reported on the interests of the rich (yes, golf, but there are many others) and where wealth managers are finding talent.

Beyond 2021, the wealth management industry will continue to grow and evolve and good journalism focused on it will be increasingly important. Thank you for reading and supporting RIA Intel. We welcome your feedback and wish you the best.

Happy New Year!

Michael Thrasher (@Mike_Thrasher) is a reporter at RIA Intel based in New York City.

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