According to this year’s Annual Industry Checkup, banks and credit unions that work with third-party broker dealers once again outperformed their counterparts with affiliate BDs. Gross investment services revenue in institutions affiliated with third-party BDs increased 24.1%, compared to 14.8% in the bank-owned BDs, marking the third consecutive year that revenue growth in the third-party BDs has outpaced growth in the bank-owned BDs.

But that’s not all. Average advisor productivity improved more in the third-party partners compared to the Bank BDs, which have consistently logged higher average gross revenue per advisor than advisors in firms that partner with third party BDs. Investment assets grew by 17.5% in the institutions with third-party BDs, nearly 10 percentage points greater asset growth than the bank-owned BDs. And advisor headcount in the third-party partners increased 3.3% year-over-year, while declining somewhat in the Bank BDs.


Financial institutions that work with a third-party broker dealer have grown investment revenue faster than the Bank BDs for three years running. Why? One answer is undoubtedly scale. The largest third-party BDs dwarf all but a handful of their bank-affiliated counterparts, and that scale allows for greater investment in growing the business, particularly in technology.

Another answer is advisor headcount. The industry has fallen well short of adding the number of advisors needed to optimize penetration of the opportunity, but institutions that work with the third- party BDs have been relatively more successful at making net additions to advisor headcount in five of the past seven years. Those additions appear to be paying off, fueling faster revenue and asset growth, and giving the third-party partners a meaningful advantage over the Bank BDs.

Therein lies the cautionary tale for the financial institution investment and insurance community at large. If banks and credit unions cannot solve for the shortage of advisors, future growth is destined to be constrained.


The 2021/2022 Annual Industry Checkup is sponsored by CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc and Terrapin Technologies.

Cuna Mutual Group has a unique set of capabilities to help both financial institutions and advisors grow their businesses at levels well above the averages for the bank and credit union industry. We call this process the “Blueprint for Success“ and its focus is helping institutions and advisors build and execute on a co-created strategic plan that applies proprietary data and analytics along the along with skill and knowledge our deeply experienced consultants. We would welcome the opportunity to tell you more.


Terrapin Technologies provides financial data and reporting solutions for broker-dealers and RIAs. Terrapin’s platform automates and improves business processes across your entire firm, including compensation, compliance, and reporting. Having worked with financial institutions for over 25 years, Terrapin knows how vital your advisor workforce is to the overall success of your investment program. Terrapin’s compensation management solution gives advisors visibility into their production with dashboards and trade blotters using real-time metrics. Its all-in-one solution empowers firms to pay advisors accurately and on time. Attract and retain top talent with Terrapin Technologies. To learn more, visit