Atlanta (Aug. 18, 2003) -- Despite the tough economy, financial planning firms have increased both their staff and their total compensation for most positions during the past two years, according to a study by the Financial Planning Association, SEI Investments and Moss Adams.

Planning firms increased their full-time staff by 15 percent in the last two years, according to the 2003 FPA Compensation & Staffing Study. Increases in staff were primarily made in management, professional and support functions. The study included 512 financial advisory firms employing a total of 3,200 people.

Total compensation across most positions increased between 2001 and 2003. However, most of the increases came in the form of salaries rather than in bonuses, FPA reported. The percentage of employees receiving a bonus or ownership distribution decreased from 76 percent in 2001 to 53 percent in 2003.

Firms are also paying more attention to recruiting and retention: roughly 70 percent offer a 401(k) plan, compared to 52.1 percent in 2001. About eighty-six percent of respondents reimburse some education expenses and 78.4 percent conduct employee evaluations, FPA said.

-- WebCPA staff

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