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A Proven Path to Gaining Client Assets

August 17, 2010

by Dan Richards

Financial planning among affluent Americans

The importance of financial planning was reinforced by research from Cerulli Associates in Boston.

They issued a report in the fourth quarter of 2009 in which they pointed to data on the importance of a written financial plan.

Their research showed that about one-in-four of all US investors said that a written financial plan was important.

Once you got above $100,000 in assets, however, that number went up to 40%.

And over $5 million in assets, that percentage was over 50%, reinforcing the fact that that most Americans with substantial assets want a written financial plan.
Making this happen

The good news is that this research provides a roadmap on how to increase client assets.

For advisors who want to act on this, use this five step process:

  1. On a piece of paper list your top ten clients – chances are that a good number of those have assets elsewhere.
  2. Across the top of the page write the eight share-of-wallet activities:
    • Providing what clients see as sufficient contact
    • A written service agreement
    • Regular portfolio reviews
    • A conversation about fees and charges
    • General wealth management advice
    • Advice on tax, estate planning, charitable giving or education savings
    • Advice on insurance
    • A written financial plan
  3. For each of your top ten clients, check off any of those eight activities that haven’t happened.
  4. Schedule time to call your each of your top ten clients to talk about any of those gaps.
  5. Finally, once you’ve done this for your top ten clients, repeat the process for your next ten – and then the next ten after that and another ten, until you’ve done this for all your meaningful clients.

By going through this process, you not only lock in your relationship with top clients, but chances are you’ll garner additional assets.

Dan Richards conducts programs to help advisors gain and retain clients and is an award winning faculty member in the MBA program at the University of Toronto. To see more of his written and video commentaries and to reach him, go to