The financial services space is going through turbulence never seen before - all over the world, legacy institutions are reeling from the impacts of the global pandemic at the same time digital upstarts are out to claim a bigger share of the market. 

As consumers shift further into digital payments thanks to the lingering lockdown, it raises the stakes in an extremely competitive business with trillions of investment capital on the line. From consumer banking functions and payments, to investing platforms, technology is revolutionizing the financial services space - but there are still plenty of people out there guarding an awful lot of client capital. 

Goldman Sachs isn't just building an app to bid its way into the digital financial services landscape - it's also acquiring an investment adviser, bringing broader broker offerings into its suite of offerings for wealthy clients. Morgan Stanley is acquiring E*Trade to build out its own digital offerings - at a time when upstarts are looming to take a bit out of banks' prized relationships. 

Despite an outage that led to user outcry, Robinhood continues to rack up user ratings and solid satisfaction scores. 

Brokers and investment advisers occupy a corner of Wall Street that has been subject to little disruption, and less diversity - a separate recent Thinknum Media survey of Northwestern Mutual found 87% of its advisers are male. A separate Thinknum review of alternative data highlights another disparity in the industry - there are a number of well-tenured pros in the advisory business, but many staffers who are relatively new to the ranks. And, this could pose a challenge to plenty of remaining legacy players in the space that haven't created a digital interface for clients - particularly, those set to inherit wealth. How well advisers and brokers maintain their relationships will determine how certain institutions thrive - and which are replaced by an app. 

Below, we track a segment of professionals who registered with FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which maps and tracks the professional relationships of thousands of brokers and investment advisers in our KgBase platform. Thinknum reviewed publicly available data and found that, of more than 1.1 million brokers:

  • 530,468 have at least one state license;
  • 183,838 brokers have disclosure history such as Customer Dispute or Employment Separation After Allegations; 
  • 9,283 people have passed 0 exams

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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