According to Cerulli Associates between 2007 and 2010, assets under management in the financial adviser industry as a whole rose to $11.2 trillion from just under $11 trillion. During the same period client assets at the wirehouses, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, UBS, and Wells Fargo Advisors – dropped to $4.8 trillion from $5.5 trillion.

Are investors finally fed-up with Wall Street antics or are their advisors leaving to go independent and they leaving with them? The answer is both. Thousands of investors have fired Wall Street brokers and selected independent advisors to replace them. Thousands more have followed Wall Street brokers who decided to go independent.

This data are supported by a 2011 Investor Watchdog survey that showed investors put more importance on their relationships with advisors than their advisors’ firms.