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Here's How We Determine the FA 100 Ranking for 2021

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  • The methodology for the 2021 edition of CNBC's annual FA 100 ranking of registered investment advisors was prepared in partnership with data provider AccuPoint Solutions.
  • A variety of core data points from AccuPoint Solutions' database of RIAs were analyzed, ranging from the firm's compliance record and years in business to total accounts and assets under management.

CNBC enlisted data provider AccuPoint Solutions to assist with the ranking of registered investment advisors for this year's FA 100 list.

The methodology consisted of first analyzing a variety of core data points from AccuPoint Solutions' database of registered investment advisors. This analysis started with an initial list of 38,302 RIA firms. Through a process, the list was eventually cut to 749 RIAs, with those firms meeting CNBC's proprietary criteria. (All the data collected from the RIAs was information culled from the firm's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.)

CNBC staff sent an email survey to all those firms that met the initial criteria to gather more details. AccuPoint again applied CNBC's proprietary weighted categories to further refine and rank the firms, ultimately creating the list of the top 100.

The primary data points used in the analysis were reviewed, either as a minimum baseline or within a range, eliminating those firms that did not meet CNBC's requirements. Once the initial list was compiled, weightings were also applied accordingly. These data points included:

  • Advisor's compliance record
  • Number of years in the business
  • Number of employees
  • Number of investment advisors registered with the firm
  • The ratio of investment advisors to total number of employees
  • Total assets under management
  • Percentage of discretionary assets under management
  • Total accounts under management
  • Number of states where the RIA is registered
  • Country of domicile
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