Companies in this industry provide customized investment advice and financial planning services. Major companies include US-based Ameriprise Financial and AXA Financial (a subsidiary of France's AXA), as well as AMP Limited (Australia), IGM Financial (Canada), and units of diversified financial services companies such as Morgan Stanley (US).
Aging populations, the shift to defined contribution retirement savings plans, and frothy markets in recent years are fueling growth of assets under management and demand for investment advice. Competing with independent financial planners and investment advisers for clients are Wall Street brokerage firms switching from a sales business model to a fee-for-service business model on retirement accounts, as well as CPAs with Certified Financial Planner designations. The proliferation of free online tools (sometimes called robo advisers) is proving popular among cost-conscious investors.
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The relationships between financial planners, investment advisers, and other professionals in the financial services industry are complex, and their roles often overlap. Financial planners help customers put together a plan to manage their financial resources; investment advisers suggest specific investments.