As investors get older and their decumulation continues to have more impact, firms will have to be more reliant on their ability to bring in new clients.
The 2018 RIA Benchmarking Study from Charles Schwab examines how the independent advisory industry remains on a growth trajectory, and how much new clients play a role in that growth.
The data from Schwab’s latest study indicates assets under management grew 16.2% in 2017 at the median versus 9.6% in 2016.
“Certainly the market played a role in [the 2017 growth], but even when you peel away the market performance and net deposits by existing clients, you can see the acquisition of new clients was quite robust in 2017,” Jon Beatty, senior vice president of sales and relationship management at Schwab Advisor Services, explained to ThinkAdvisor.
The study found that adding new clients has an outsize impact on AUM growth.
Asset growth from new clients is more than twice that from existing clients for a majority of firms, according to the study.
“The acquisition of new clients brings in about twice the amount of assets that are earned through the existing client base,” Beatty told ThinkAdvisor. “As you expect, as the investors get older and decumulation continues to have more impact, firms will be more reliant on their ability to bring new clients in to retain growth rates and retain assets under management. That is a critical business measurement to track and make sure you’re understanding how you’re doing as a business owner.”
According to Beatty, the firms that are most successful in attracting new clients are focusing their ability to appeal to and meet the needs of their ideal clients.
The study finds that firms that document both an ideal client persona and a client value proposition — of which more than half of firms do so — win 26% more new clients and 41% more new client assets than those that do not.
Beatty described the “ideal client persona” as the idea of “creating a focus within the firm on the particular attributes of clients that you work the best with.”
“We’ve talked a lot in the industry about services driving differentiation, and you can see that trend continues. But the idea that there’s another dimension of creating differentiation, which is creating a curated experience around a specific type of investor persona,” he added.