When it comes to attracting new clients, you probably know all the tricks: flyers, seminars, steak dinners and so on. And you probably know that, for many FAs, these old gambits work just fine. For others, however, such tactics aren’t enough.
So FA-IQ asked around. We wanted to hear your best moves for attracting new clients. The approaches we gleaned were different in many respects, definitely, but each one — its proponents tell us — gets results.
Miracle Mile Advisors, a financial-advice firm in Los Angeles with $455 million under management, has grown by 50% in the past two years, according to its managing partner, Duncan Rolph. He attributes this to the firm’s decision to bring on a public relations firm.
Specifically, Rolph says Flackable, the PR outfit in question, has sharpened his firm’s social-media outreach to “further expand our client base and referral sources” — especially among younger prospects who are likely to shop for FAs on Twitter and the like. Things like sharper website design and compelling content can also help firms zero in on next-generation clients who, while maybe not exactly flush now, can give them something to build on in coming decades.
John Anderson, head of SEI’s Advisor Network investment platform, thinks firms like Miracle Mile Advisors are on to something in pursuing younger customers. While most of their rivals are geared to rich retirees, more progressive outfits view millennials not merely as lower-tier clients, but also as reasons to innovate for a successor demographic that’s hungry for “a different business model.”
For Bill Militello of Militello Capital in Leesburg, Va., flexibility on this front is everything.
In a world where “a monkey can do a 60-40 allocation” and educated consumers are increasingly apt to question fees, FAs who charge too much for fiddling with allocations are “going to get replaced by robo-advisors,” says Militello, whose firm manages about $75 million. “The only way you’re going to survive in 2015 is” to give clients access to nimbler technologies and to be more transparent about fees, he adds.
Eric Poirier, CEO of the advisor-tech company Addepar, says his advisor clients demand tools radically different than they asked for just five years ago.
Many advisors in the recent past would have trouble putting together a one-page summary of a client’s entire portfolio, he says, and some still do. Addepar creates a portfolio dashboard on-screen for clients that offers all their data immediately and transparently.
“There are more than 15,000 RIAs in the United States. Some of those have the ambition to be around in a few years and some don’t,” he says. “For those who do, they’re all obsessing about changes in areas like technology and clients’ children.”