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Practice Management > Marketing and Communications > Client Retention

4 Ways RIAs Can Create Better Performance Reports

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What You Need to Know

  • Performance reporting often is ignored as part of an effective communication and technology strategy with clients.
  • Content added to reports should be representative of the advisor’s personal management philosophy.
  • Age, income, net worth, job, investment experience and other factors play a key role in how advisors communicate with and serve clients.

The client review process with wealth advisors has evolved (and for good reasons) into more than just a discussion around numbers. Advisors have been smart to adopt a holistic approach to considering the big-picture goals, needs and concerns of their clients, while also educating clients on topics such as risk, diversification, and how behavior such as emotions play a role in investment decisions.

Nonetheless, every client still needs the “How am I doing?” update on their managed assets.

Performance reporting often is ignored as part of an effective communication and technology strategy with clients. Many advisors have become accustomed to using the same mundane, colorless, canned reports that fail to impress their clients.

With the help of many of today’s innovative technology solutions, savvy RIAs can create customized performance reports configured to tell their story. However, many RIAs fall short of delivering effective reporting to their clients.

Here are some tips to help advisory firms build brand equity and strengthen client relationships through a well-developed report construction and communication strategy:

1. Think like a marketer.

Just putting the firm logo at the top of the page is not going to cut it. Advisory firms need to carefully examine everything: fonts and sizing, color scheme, headers/footers, layout orientation, position of reporting data elements, spacing, cover page design, etc.

The “look and feel” is very important to show professionalism and appeal to the client with an attractive and easy to follow layout. Additionally, consider how the reports look, not only on paper, but when delivered digitally as well. Any report should appear just as clean on a cell phone as it does on a desktop or tablet.

2. Consider the story you are telling your client.

Content added to reports should be representative of the advisor’s personal management philosophy.

For example, an advisor who is selling their ability to “pick the winners” in an active management approach will be more concerned with showcasing individual asset performance and how it stacks up against notable benchmark indexes. Meanwhile, an advisor with a passive investment strategy may want to guide their clients toward topics of proper asset allocation to achieve their end goals.

Whatever the advisor’s approach, the content of the performance report should be reflective of the style and configured to align with the story the advisor is telling.

3. Tailor to the audience.

Advisors may have a niche market of clients that they serve, but there is no doubt that their client personas may be very different. Age, income, net worth, job, investment experience and other suitability factors play a key role in how they communicate with and serve clients.

Reporting is no different and should not be considered one-size-fits-all, either. Some clients may only want to see a consolidated, high-level summary report while others really want to dive into the details of the data.

RIAs should provide multiple reporting options available to advisors. By tailoring report deliverables based on preferences like these, advisors are creating a more pleasant experience for their clients.

4. Stay in constant contact.

While performance reports should always play a role in the client meeting, advisors should consider regular report delivery through digital distribution channels. Sending a shortened and easy-to-follow overview report monthly to a client via a portal or document storage vault demonstrates transparency, while also reducing questioning from curious clients who are worried about their nest egg.

By establishing a reliable presence with the regular delivery of reporting content, advisors keep the client informed along with building trust in the relationship.


Greg Elliott is a senior consultant in Consulting Services at F2 Strategy, a wealthtech management consulting firm serving complex wealth advisory firms.