SEI Announces ‘No Fees’ for Low AUM Advisors

Firm underscores 'commitment to providing best-in-class resources to all advisors, regardless of size'

SEI Advisor Network announced Tuesday the launch of a new initiative called, “No Advisor Fees, No Matter What.” It refers to what SEI Advisor Network calls a “growing trend” to charge “large maintenance fees” for advisors that fall under a “minimum asset threshold,” according to the release.  

Steve Onofrio, Managing Director of SEI Advisor Network, told AdvisorOne.com on Wednesday, We reaffirm our commitment to advisors not to charge them minimum [asset] fees to be on the platform so they can conduct business without restriction.”

Speaking of the firm’s announcement, Onofrio notes that many “of our current advisors with $250 million or more in assets started with SEI Advisor Network “with $5 million or below,” in assets under management (AUM). “It’s a scalable model,” he adds.

The some 6,000 advisors that use SEI Advisor Network’s platform fall across four quartiles; $5 million to $20 million; $20 million to $75 million; $75 million to $250 million; and $250 million and above. Broker-dealer affiliated reps comprise about 70% of the advisors, while RIA firms the other 30%, Onofrio says.

Planning for Growth

Onofrio says that to help advisors grow, the firm has 25 regional directors, based in the territories where they operate, as part of relationship management teams that also include inside SEI account executives who help advisors manage “middle office, custody, trust and administration,” outsourcing to SEI. The regional directors are “planning 2011 events” with advisors now, and have been “conducting practice management workshops,” Onofrio adds.

With advisors, the regional directors first discuss the advisor’s growth goals for the year. Together, they apply a set of metrics to project what the advisor needs to do to bring aboard those new assets based on average client size and other variables. Then they plan a series of activities for the advisor to execute in order to achieve their goals. These can be intimate dinners to which advisors invite good clients and “ask them to bring two or three friends,” where they, “talk about the

markets and economy, and taxes,” or large-group seminars. If an advisor wants to bring in “10 new clients, they’ll need to see 30 prospects,” Onofrio advises. More, if the advisor’s activities are seminar-based events. They plan the series of events over the year.

Tracking Progress

The advisors and SEO regional directors help advisors track the progress of client acquisition after the events, plotting “first appointment, second appointment,” conversion rates and, “how long it takes to bring in a new client.” They can tweak the efforts as they go, according to what works best.

Marketing Materials

The firm announced two additional initiatives, as well: an “automated marketing campaign generator enables advisors to plan their “communication with existing clients for the whole year,” Onofrio says, and can automate the process of inviting prospects to events; the materials generated for brokers are “pre-BD approved” notes Onofrio, and if their BD approves, the broker can use their own logo.

Going Green

The other initiative is a “dedicated advisor transaction portal” which enables advisors to transmit account-opening and other documents electronically, saving trees and time. It’s an “enhancement” to an existing system Onofrio says.

SEI Advisor Network is a unit of SEI and provides advisors that have an aggregate $30.4 billion in AUM with outsourcing services that include investment strategies, technology and administration platforms, trust, banking institutional and practice management expertise.

SEI manages $164 billion in assets and administers $402 billion in pooled and mutual fund assts. It provides outsourcing solutions for asset management, and investment operations and processing for advisors, institutions, corporations and family offices.

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