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Cetera Expands Investor Acquisition Program to All Its Advisors

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What You Need to Know

  • Only a little more than 100 of the Cetera network’s more than 8,000 advisors have been using the acquisition program so far.
  • The LeadEngine lead-generation platform was developed for Cetera by SmartAsset.
  • LeadEngine converted more than $20 million in assets for advisors in the program this year, with another $75 million in the pipeline, Cetera said.

Cetera Financial Group has expanded its LeadEngine investor-acquisition program to all advisors in its network, the company said Tuesday.

Only a little more than 100 of the network’s more than 8,000 advisors have been using the program before now, according to Cetera. The firm oversaw $340 billion in assets under administration and $119 billion in assets under management as of June 30.

LeadEngine participants are also now eligible for reimbursement of their investment into the program, Cetera said.

The LeadEngine lead-generation platform was developed for Cetera by SmartAsset and connects financial professionals directly with highly qualified prospects who are actively seeking a financial professional, Cetera said.

This year, LeadEngine converted more than $20 million in assets for advisors in the program, with another $75 million in the pipeline, Cetera said. Cetera-affiliated financial professionals using SmartAsset now are also “outpacing the 5% lead-to-client conversion benchmark,” the companies said in a joint news release.

Cetera and SmartAsset have collaborated since early 2019, testing multiple programs designed to match Cetera’s financial professionals with new clients across the U.S., they said.

The initial pilot was launched in January 2020 and “included about 30 advisors who participate in one of Cetera’s community councils,” according to Michael Zuna, Cetera chief marketing and communications officer. “Our goal was to determine whether SmartAsset’s platform provided quality leads with a strong return on investment, and gain feedback from a small group of advisors on the impact this program could have on their business,” he explained on Thursday.

Then, “after a few months on platform, we felt that SmartAsset provided a superior solution for lead generation compared to many other programs we had previously piloted,” Zuna said. “As part of Cetera’s initiative to support the growth of affiliated financial professionals, we scaled a cost-share pilot to a larger audience in November 2020.  We onboarded 30 advisors per month for a 6-month program on SmartAsset from November 2020 through Summer 2021.”

An invitation to participate in the pilot was “extended to financial professionals through Cetera Growth Officers, initiating individual conversations with reps in their community focused on opportunities to grow their business,” he added. “With the rolling six months, at the highest peak of the scaled pilot, we had about 120 advisors in the program.”

“With an audience reach of more than 75 million consumers each month,” SmartAsset’s scale “creates opportunities for advisors to grow their businesses via a fully scalable, on-demand client prospecting service,” according to Michael Carvin, CEO and co-founder of SmartAsset.

More on this topic

SmartAsset’s “latest innovation,” Live Connections, “delivers warm leads via phone transfer [and] further helps advisors by eliminating the investor prospecting burden, allowing them to focus on what they’re good at: advising clients,” Carvin said in a statement.

Many advisors using LeadEngine have reported “tangible success in a relatively short time frame and offer advice to other Cetera financial professionals who may use the program,” according to Cetera.

“Cetera helped my growth strategy by giving me quality leads through LeadEngine,” according to Michael Argiro, a registered advisor and broker who has been with Cetera since 2011, according to his report on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck website.

“In just four months, I have three new clients and over $1M in assets closed with another $1.5M in transition,” he said in the news release.

To complement LeadEngine, Cetera’s growth officers and engagement teams help advisors “maximize prospecting opportunities,” the companies said.

In partnership with SmartAsset, Cetera offers best practice guides that review advisors’ email outreach, lead nurturing and text messaging with MyRepChat.

Cetera also partners with advisors to create “personalized lead-nurture programs using a ready-to-use-email sequence in its MarketingCentral platform to streamline the lead follow-up process, allowing financial professionals to customize communication cadence and personalize materials and messaging,” according to the companies.

LeadEngine is the latest growth resource available to Cetera-affiliated financial professionals. Cetera recently rolled out the Growth360 program to its advisor network. Growth360 helps Cetera advisors to “learn from and incorporate the successes of their fastest-growing peers and will continue to expand with new phases in 2022 and beyond,” according to the company.

(Pictured: Michael Carvin, CEO of SmartAsset)