Facts, Facts and More Facts: Q1 2012 Full-service Brokerage Channel Wrap-up

The 2012 RRSP season delivered its typical boost to activity in the full-service brokerage channel. The channel’s asset base expanded by 3.9% on a quarter-over-quarter basis but, at $818 billion, fell short of the high-water mark established in March 2011 when the channel’s advisors administered a record $825 billion. This was in contrast to the online/discount brokerage channel, which reached a new peak at the end of March 2012.

Trade volumes swelled by over 20% in the quarter and topped 14 million for the first time since the opening frame of 2011. Transaction volumes exceeded those for the online/discount channel (11.7 million trades) for the second consecutive quarter and by the widest margin since 2005. This might be a sign that persistent market volatility is beginning to negatively impact the confidence of some of the newcomers to the online brokerage channel.

Meanwhile, it was back to “risk on” in the full-service brokerage channel, as valuations and a drawdown of cash positions helped investment funds and equities to quarterly increases of 4.3% and 6.0%, respectively.

Fee-based assets outpaced the commission-based component thanks to gains in non-discretionary fee-based brokerage (FBB) and discretionary advisor managed (AM) programs. Both programs expanded by over 6% in the quarter to reach new highs ($116 billion and $60 billion, respectively).

For more information and up-to-date statistics on the retail brokerage channels, please refer to the upcoming edition of our Retail Brokerage and Distribution Advisory Service http://investoreconomics.com/issue/the-retail-brokerage-report. Posted by Matthew Goldstein Matthew@iei.ca.