CNBC ranks the top 50 money-management firms of 2015

It's a simple fact: People are continuously looking for the right opportunities to invest and make money. That's why investors' trust in the money-management industry is so key. Those trusted firms will always rise to the top.

To that point, 35 percent of investors surveyed cited "trusted to act in my best interest" as the most important attribute in hiring an investment/money manager, according to a recent study from the CFA Institute. The CFA survey also found that 73 percent of investors say they are optimistic about their fair opportunity for profit or loss in capital markets.

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Industry experts are bullish and conclude that there are a variety of investment opportunities for individual investors to create low-cost portfolios that are diversified across geographic markets and many asset classes. It's a period of consistent growth and opportunity for investors and for money managers, industry experts say.

Read MoreMoney managers take center stage

And that trusted relationship is key, the CFA study concluded.

The study found that investors believe having a trusting relationship with a money manager is twice as important as getting the best possible financial result and five times as important as getting the lowest fee.

The study also concluded that in order to maintain and build the ethical standing and purpose of the financial services industry and capital markets, every participant in the investment industry must focus on enhancing trust.

The CNBC digital editorial team, along with Meridian-IQ, used the following methodology to come up with its Top 50 Money Managers list: total assets under management, average account size, total number of accounts and the firm's 2014 assets under management.

Click here for full financial and contact details for the top 50 money-management firms for 2015.

Top 50 rias table 150812

Rank Primary Business Name Total AUM $(bil) Avg Account Size $(mil) Total Accounts Historical AUM 2014 $(bil)
1Vanguard Group Inc." $3,006.42 "" $12,122.66 "248"$2,349.13"
2Pacific Investment Management Co. LLC" $1,680.39 " $688.12 "2,442""$1,950.51"
3Capital Research and Management Co." $1,366.31 "" $12,420.98 "110"$1,366.31"
4J.P. Morgan Asset Management" $1,149.34 " $31.38 "36,623""$1,053.26"
5FMR Co. Inc. $918.63 " $3,280.81 "280$866.59
6Wellington Management Co. LLP $892.08 $640.40 "1,393"$826.19
7BlackRock Fund Advisors $863.38 " $2,230.96 "387$814.15
8T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. $742.73 $537.04 "1,383"$689.29
9Northern Trust Investments Inc. $689.81 $20.04 "34,424"$638.42
10Goldman Sachs Asset Management LP $689.16 $15.64 "44,051"$614.19
11Fidelity Investments Money Management Inc. $606.37 " $4,458.61 "136$603.08
12Prudential Investment Management Inc. $564.45 $808.66 698$505.56
13"Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Inc." $560.74 $0.35 "1,589,138"$485.51
14BlackRock International Ltd. $545.80 $375.12 "1,455"$551.97
15Morgan Stanley $528.24 $0.35 "1,523,145"$460.69
16Blackrock Advisors LLC $523.61 " $1,526.56 "343$454.14
17Franklin Advisers Inc. $516.69 $869.84 594$516.69
18AllianceBernstein LP $477.47 $13.15 "36,318"$430.68
19Invesco Advisers Inc. $430.50 $21.17 "20,331"$422.27
20Strategic Advisers Inc. $427.63 $0.77 "554,156"$388.66
21Dimensional Fund Advisors LP $418.41 " $1,070.11 "391$347.18
22M&G Investment Management Ltd. $389.39 " $4,056.11 "96$400.02
23SSGA Funds Management Inc. $377.82 " $1,447.58 "261$335.30
24Wells Fargo Advisors LLC $375.93 $0.29 "1,306,969"$334.76
25UBS Financial Services Inc. $372.07 $0.45 "828,269"$272.28
26Western Asset Management Co. $371.11 $539.40 688$379.35
27Nomura Asset Management Co. Ltd. $353.41 $254.80 "1,387"$305.98
28Columbia Management Investment Advisers LLC $345.25 $98.87 "3,492"$336.62
29Wells Capital Management Inc. $335.70 $221.44 "1,516"$340.14
30State Street Global Advisors Ltd. $334.41 $211.79 "1,579"$327.61
31AIG Asset Management (U.S.) LLC $329.30 " $2,863.48 "115$332.00
32J.P. Morgan Asset Management London $309.55 $504.97 613$146.41
33Mellon Capital Management Corp. $296.05 $410.62 721$270.21
34The Dreyfus Corp. $293.92 " $1,660.57 "177$299.30
35MFS Investment Management $293.77 $793.97 370$269.47
36Prudential Investments LLC $270.19 " $1,437.17 "188$260.82
37Dodge & Cox $269.57 $316.77 851$224.42
38Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. $267.46 $204.79 "1,306"$248.49
39Morgan Stanley Investment Management Inc. $257.36 $638.61 403$234.59
40Wells Fargo Funds Management LLC $254.51 $40.98 "6,211"$252.69
41Federated Investment Management Co. $244.56 " $2,285.59 "107$253.55
42Legg Mason Partners Fund Advisor LLC $243.40 " $1,714.06 "142$244.90
43TIAA-CREF Investment Management LLC $240.64 " $30,079.64 "8$238.38
44Goldman Sachs Asset Management International $235.16 $320.82 733$203.16
45Hamilton Lane $224.55 " $1,297.99 "173$187.03
46Bridgewater Associates LP $219.12 " $1,543.08 "142$196.58
47"Loomis Sayles & Company LP" $218.99 $231.00 948$193.88
48NYL Investors LLC $214.65 " $2,384.99 "90$211.76
49Deutsche Investment Management Americas Inc. $213.91 $230.76 927$204.95
50BlackRock Investment Management LLC $212.74 $8.13 "26,151"$211.42

Methodology

The CNBC digital editorial team, along with Meridian-IQ, used the following methodology to compile its Top 50 Money Managers list:

  • Total assets under management.
  • Average account size.
  • Total number of accounts.
  • 2014 assets under management.

—By Jim Pavia, Senior Editor at Large