According to a report by Sanford C. Bernstein & Co, deteriorating profits at wealth management firms such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo Advisors, and UBS Wealth Management are "highly exaggerated".

though the brokerage giants have lost market share, and particularly so to smaller firms and independent advisers, as per the recent report by Sanford C. Bernstein, they still dominate. Additionally, the report findings show that much of the slippage may have been "strategic".

The loss of market share for big wealth management firms come mainly due to reputational damage to the parent banks during the financial crisis. The wealth management industry is on the rebound now, according to the report, and the "biggest part of the growth is occurring among the wealthiest individuals".

Bernstein analysts said, "The demographic trends that will impact the industry over the next five years are entirely manageable or positive for the wirehouses. We believe that the wirehouse channel remains, and will remain, the most profitable portion of the North American full-service wealth management industry over the next five years."