Private Client Division
At a Glance
The Private Client Division delivers investment advice and comprehensive wealth management strategies to a wide variety of investors including families and high-net-worth individuals, foundations and endowments, charities, pension plans, corporate executives, and businesses— both large and small. Comprehensive solutions are developed and delivered by deploying the resources of Oppenheimer Asset Management, the Oppenheimer Trust Company of Delaware, the Insurance and Annuities Division, Corporate & Executive Services, the Retirement Planning Group, Oppenheimer’s Research and Strategy Resources, the Capital Markets Group, as well as the traditional services of execution and custody.
Year in Review
The Private Client Division has 1,032 financial advisors in 93 branch offices throughout the U.S. We helped numerous advisors celebrate their retirements this past year, resulting in the slight decline in headcount from the fourth quarter of 2018. That said, attracting, motivating, and retaining top talent has been, and remains, a primary goal.
The Private Client Division experienced a strong year in 2019, reporting revenue of $653.4 million for 2019, 5.8 percent higher than in 2018. Advisory fees, which increased due to higher incentive fees earned from alternative investments, brought in $264.8 million in revenue in 2019, an increase of 8.7 percent from 2018. In 2019, bank deposit sweep income was $117.4 million, an increase of 1.2 percent compared with 2018.
The environment for Oppenheimer’s Private Client Division was ripe with opportunity in 2019, given that the U.S. economy continued to grow and consumer confidence remained high. The S&P 500 surged 29 percent, its best return since 2013, and the U.S. equity market experienced positive performance. Following a year of declining interest rates and low inflation, 2019 was relatively stable, and we forecast a similar climate in 2020.
Areas of Focus
Recognizing that people are our greatest asset, the Private Client Division relentlessly focused on attracting experienced advisors with compatible profiles to help the firm by adding revenue and increasing client assets and realize meaningful growth. Our current base of highly qualified financial advisors continues to craft competitive investment and wealth management advice for clients. To remain agile, we support our advisors’ professional development through a range of onsite coaching, peer-to-peer and classroom training, and an environment for improving their ability to attract new clients.
We continued to deepen the advisor and client experience by enhancing our financial advisor dashboard, AdvisorWorks, which integrates financial planning, client reporting, and the aggregation of client assets held at other custodians.
We will stay abreast of technological developments and investor preferences to continuously meet our clients with custom financial advice where and when they want to receive it.
We ended one decade, and are embarking confidently into a new one. The Private Client Division is optimistic about setting the stage for the next 10 years, as our margins are healthy, our assets are growing, our legal and regulatory costs are low, and our advisor base is more engaged and productive than ever.
Our utmost priority for 2020 is meeting the changing needs of our clients. They will continue to be at the center of all decisions we make, from recruiting and developing experienced advisors, to evolving new investment services.
We continue to enhance our advisor-facing technology, but we have not exhausted our energy on modernizing and streamlining digital touchpoints. We will stay abreast of technological developments and investor preferences to continuously meet our clients with custom financial advice where and when they want to receive it.
We also have an eye on the regulatory landscape. In 2019, we were focused on the Regulation Best Interest rule issued by the SEC, which intends to improve safeguards for investors. While we have always prioritized providing services that are in the best interest of our clients, such compliance requires material changes in processes and procedures, and these must be implemented ahead of June 30, 2020.
With consumers feeling optimistic, it will be more important for us than ever to innovate and remain a competitive partner for our clients. As the landscape of professional asset management continues to evolve to keep up with regulatory developments, shifting investor preferences and technological advancements, we have been bringing more thoughtful and sophisticated solutions to our valued clients. As we continue to analyze and consider our next moves, our strategic decisions will always uphold our values—to serve clients with integrity, excellence and teamwork.