U.S. Retail Investor Products and Platforms 2023

Partnering Through Adversity

Establish Relationships With Emerging Investors

  • Understand retail investors’ preferences with regard to direct investing platforms and the products they wish to use on them
  • Analyze annually updated investor market sizing, with age and wealth tier segmentations
  • Explore proprietary sizing of direct-to-investor platforms, including an updated leaderboard and underlying product sizing
  • Understand how to serve clients from their first job through their retirement by bringing together numerous service models to serve their evolving needs


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Report Retail Investor Products Detail

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Drew O'Hearn, CFP

Drew O'Hearn, CFP

Senior Director, Account Management


This report serves as Cerulli’s guidebook to optimizing firms’ strategies to designing and addressing retail investment platforms. It helps firms better understand retail investors’ preferences with regard to direct investing platforms and the products they wish to use on them.

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Each report is lead authored by a senior Cerulli analyst with significant industry experience. The report incorporates qualitative and quantitative inputs, based on Cerulli’s proprietary research process. For more on our research process, click here.

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A Note from the Author

An Untapped Client Segment Eager for Advice

Scott Smith

Scott Smith


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Scott Smith

Scott Smith


With more than 20 years of financial services industry experience, Scott leads Cerulli’s research efforts focused on investor behavior and advisory relationships. In his time at Cerulli, he has authored more than two dozen in-depth reports on topics ranging from wholesale distribution to digital advice platforms. His research helps Cerulli’s clients understand how to optimize their platforms given the evolving demand for financial advice.

Scott started his career wearing a headset at Putnam Investments’ service center in 1996, before moving to more strategic roles at MFS Investment Management starting in 2000, and then to Cerulli in 2007. In addition, he currently serves as member of the CFP Board’s Digital Advice Working Group, and as a judge for the Industry Awards.

Full biography here.

20% of affluent investors in the U.S. retail marketplace are categorized by Cerulli as “Advice Seekers.” This cohort should be of particular interest to platform providers because these investors are interested in additional financial relationships, recognize the value of expert advice, and are willing to pay for it.

While this may be good news to many providers, capturing this segment may be more challenging than meets the eye. Most of the aforementioned investors lie in the provenance of the bank advisor channel (44%) and underscore the challenges facing providers—gaining walletshare from investors with significant unmet needs working with other advisors.

According to the research, 76% of Advice Seekers are under age 50. However, the channel shrinks significantly within the 50–59 age cohort, serving as a stark reminder that providers must make every effort to solidify client relationships before this point. Firms unable to maintain relationships or provide a continuous pipeline of emerging affluent investors face the threat of declining marketshare moving forward.

Understand how to tap into this valuable client segment and grow walletshare with our latest report, U.S. Retail Investors Products and Platforms 2023: Partnering Through Adversity.

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