A registered investment adviser (RIA) is an individual or firm who manages and advises investment portfolios. Advisers who have more than $110 million in assets under management (AUM) are generally required to register with the SEC.
The Registered Investment Advisers (RIA) database powered by Audit Analytics looks at records back to 2012 and covers all advisers filing Form ADV. There are countless ways to look at the market share, including who audits registered investment advisers, assets under management, total clients, and location.
In 2021, 526 audit firms conducted 4,409 audits of 3,802 unique registered investment advisers. In this analysis, we look at the audit firm market share of registered investment advisers broken down by US region.
Similar to last year, the leaders in this specialized market were the Big Four firms. PwC had the most overall RIA clients, auditing 371 investment advisers in 2021. EY followed with 362 clients while KPMG and Deloitte ranked third and fourth, respectively. In total, the Big Four constituted 30.7% of the RIA audit market in 2021.
RSM was the leading non-Big Four firm with 154 registered investment adviser clients, claiming 3.5% of the market share. Ashland Partners & Company, an Oregon-based firm specializing in the investment management industry, ranked sixth with 149 clients and 3.4% of the market share. Overall, the top ten audit firms held 47.7% of the RIA market share in 2021.
Clients by Region
The Mid-Atlantic region had the most overall RIA clients in the United States. In 2021, there were 1,165 RIA clients in this region, making up 32% of all RIAs in the US. The West followed with 659 RIA clients, constituting 18% of the market share. The Southeast and Midwest regions each held about 15% of national RIA clients. The New England region followed with 12% of the market share. Lastly, the Southwest made up the smallest region of RIA clients in the US, with only 288 clients in 2021.
Top Auditors by Region
Overall, each US region was led by one of the Big Four firms in total RIA clients. PwC was the leading audit firm in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions, while KPMG led in the Southeast and Southwest. EY had the most clients in the Midwest while Deloitte was the leader in the West.
Ashland Partners & Company was a top firm in four of the six US regions, auditing their most total clients in the West. However, the firm ranked highest in New England, holding 5.7% of the market share in that region. BDO was also a top firm across four different regions. BDO held the most total clients in the US Mid-Atlantic region, auditing 32 investment advisers, but ranked highest in the Southwest.
Plante & Moran was the only non-Big Four firm to rank second among any of the US regions. With many locations across Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan, Plante & Moran held nearly 8% of the RIA audit market in the Midwest.
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