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Broadridge defines the online channel as distributors with a primary legacy of serving retail investors via discount brokerage platforms, a business that was born from the SEC’s 1975 decision to deregulate commissions. The main online players today are the retail business lines for Fidelity/National Financial, Vanguard, Schwab, E*TRADE and Scottrade. Included within the online channels are digital platforms for Vanguard (Personal Advisor) and Schwab (Intelligent Portfolios).
The online channel has experienced solid growth vs. other retail channels (RIA, Wirehouse, IBD) with asset share rising steadily since 2015 from 10.6% ($627bn) to 14.5% ($1.2tn) with positive annual cash flow over the entire period (only channel to do so). Broadridge expects these trends to continue powered by the demand for passive investments and scalable advice targeting Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials.