Increasing Client Referrals is Advisers’ No. 1 New Year’s Resolution

Advisers find that getting enough referrals to attain their growth goals is a challenge.

Advisers’ No. 1 New Year’s resolution is to obtain more client referrals, SEI Advisor Network found in a survey. A separate study by SEI, Absolute Engagement and The Client Driven Practice found that advisers find it a challenge to obtain enough referrals so that they can meet their growth goals.

Last year, advisers said preparing for the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule was their top priority for the coming year.

Advisers say another important goal for 2018 is to develop a plan to communicate with their clients about the potential end to the bull market. They also want to communicate the importance of a diversified portfolio.

With respect to technology, advisers’ top goal is to build integrated, automated workflows to increase efficiencies. When asked what technology they find the most useful, 46% of advisers said customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

When asked what type of technology they could benefit the most from, 35% of advisers said technology related to client prospecting and acquisition would be most important.


“Financial advisers’ top New Year’s resolutions point to growth, as they typically do, but this year shows a difference in how advisers are looking to grow,” says John Anderson, managing director and head of Practice Management Services for the SEI Advisor Network. “Advisers want to increase their referability, but they are not sure exactly how to do it. We encourage them to not focus on one or two tactics but to build a strategic framework for becoming more referable. In the coming year, advisers also intend to focus on technologies that will help them scale their businesses, as well as ones that will support their growth and add more value to their clients’ lives.”


Here are the top 10 New Year’s resolutions made by financial advisors for 2018:

  1. Take steps to become more referable and increase client referrals;
  2. Increase my client’s awareness of additional services that they may not know I offer;
  3. Reinforce the benefits of diversification with clients as part of a long-term investment strategy;
  4. Contact my clients more frequently through digital marketing channels such as email marketing, social media, etc.;
  5. Communicate advisory fee structure and fiduciary standard with my clients;
  6. Conduct more public-facing marketing activities;
  7. Communicate and institute a plan for my clients around potential end to the bull market in 2018;
  8. Implement a goals-based approach to investing for my clients;
  9. Build integrated workflows for my practice to increase efficiencies; and
  10. Provide more investor-friendly education and communications around the financial markets and investments.


SEI’s findings are based on responses from over 400 independent financial advisers during the first two weeks of December.