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Fidelity Redefines Advisor Benchmarking with Innovative Dashboards and Consulting, Making Data Accessible, Actionable
With Only 30 Percent of Firms Having a Marketing Plan, Dynamic Program Helps Advisors Identify Marketing and Business Development Goals and Easily Track Their ProgressBOSTON -- Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services®, the industry’s fastest growing custodian for registered investment advisors (RIAs)1, today announced findings from the 2011 Fidelity RIA Benchmarking Study, as well as an industry-first approach to making benchmarking data easily accessible and actionable for clients with flexible, dynamic tools and consulting support from Fidelity.
With participating advisors projecting median revenue growth of 12 percent in 2012, the 2011 study explored a key growth strategy -- marketing and business development -- and yielded three key findings:
1. The majority of firms view marketing as critical to their future growth, yet fewer than 30 percent have a written marketing plan.
2. The majority of firms rely heavily on the firms’ principal(s) for generating business (81 percent); half of these firms do not have succession plans, putting the firm’s source of growth at risk, should a principal leave the firm.
3. Advisors recognize the importance of client service as the largest business opportunity (78 percent) and the largest driver of referrals (78 percent), and yet the majority of advisors do not measure client satisfaction regularly (91 percent do not measure it annually).
“We’re bringing benchmarking to our clients through a totally new approach,” said
David E. Canter, executive vice president and head of Practice Management and Consulting at Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services. “Far more than a research report, our benchmarking program and the Web-based dashboards foster an ongoing dialogue between Fidelity representatives and our clients that will enable us to showcase characteristics of top-performing firms and help support our clients’ growth.”
Analysis of the top-performing participants in the study -- defined as the top quartile in growth, profitability or productivity -- found that these firms have adjusted profit margins2 of more than 70 percent vs. approximately 50 percent for all others. They also received more revenue from referrals (50 percent vs. 40 percent) and had a lower acquisition cost per client ($458 vs. $673).
The 2011 Fidelity RIA Benchmarking Study, conducted in collaboration with Quantuvis Consulting, Inc., gathered data from more than 375 RIA firms managing more than $200 billion in combined assets (with 44 firms managing more than $1 billion in assets) to present industry benchmarks on key financial, operational and marketing metrics. Advisors can use the data to set their own firm goals and simultaneously track their progress against benchmarks and goals through simple yet dynamic online financial and marketing dashboards, developed by Quantuvis and customized for Fidelity clients. Clients also can customize their peer groups from 38 options, enter their quarterly performance metrics and track progress against firm goals in addition to their peer groups.
“Many firms want to fine-tune their marketing and business development plans but don’t have the resources or the time to define and track them,” said Canter. “Through the benchmarking dashboards and our consulting support, we’re helping advisors set specific goals around key metrics like new client wins, marketing expenses and acquisition costs. This extends the benchmarking data’s relevance far beyond the annual study and allows advisors to see how they’re progressing and make adjustments to meet their goals.”
“Benchmarking is an important part of our growth strategy. As an independent advisory firm, having access to this type of data is critical in setting our firm goals,” said Robert J. DiQuollo of Brinton Eaton Wealth Advisors. “Seeing the data on the benchmarking dashboards really brings it to life and helps to hold us, as a firm, accountable to our goals.”
In addition to the Benchmarking Program, Fidelity offers a wide range of practice management and consulting services to help support firm growth:
• Profiles in Growth -- a series of “real life” stories from successful RIAs offering actionable strategies for their peers, including “How to Ignite Powerful Growth: Client and Center of Influence Referrals.”
• Business Development and Marketing Planning Toolkit -- using an interactive, comprehensive process, Fidelity’s toolkit provides advisors with leading practices that can help them evaluate and outline their firms’ distinct goals, assess their current business development efforts, identify areas of opportunity for client acquisition and leverage practical solutions for implementing a plan.
• Referral-EDGESM3 -- an innovative Web-based research tool developed by Infinata and customized exclusively for Fidelity clients that is designed to help advisors accelerate their business growth by uncovering prospective clients and networking opportunities.
• Client Satisfaction Program -- includes referrals to discounted research vendors that can help implement client satisfaction programs as well as a toolkit that helps an advisor assess their clients’ expectations, what they value, and how they view the advisor and the firm.
Fidelity began rolling out the results of the 2011 Fidelity RIA Benchmarking study to advisors late this year and will continue to provide data and insights throughout 2012. For more information on the study, advisors can contact a Fidelity Sales representative or Relationship Manager at 800.735.3756.
About the 2011 Fidelity RIA Benchmarking Study
The 2011 Fidelity RIA Benchmarking Study was conducted in collaboration with Quantuvis Consulting, Inc. between August 1 and September 26, 2011, among 375 RIA clients of Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, managing more than $200 billion in combined assets (with 44 firms managing more than $1 billion in assets) to present industry benchmarks on key financial, operational and marketing metrics. Median firm AUM was $158 million, median revenue was approximately $1 million, and median number of clients was 158. Top performing firms are defined as the top quartile in growth, profitability or productivity.
About Fidelity Practice Management and Consulting Program
The Fidelity Practice Management and Consulting Program is a multi-faceted client service that provides advisors access to a wide array of insights, best practices, strategic consulting services and business-oriented tools and programs to help accelerate business growth, maximize productivity and protect their practices.4
About Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services
Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services is a leading provider of trading, custody and brokerage services to Registered Investment Advisors, Trust Institutions and Third Party Administrators. The company is able to leverage the capital, resources and expertise of the Fidelity organization, one of the world’s largest financial services companies, on behalf of its clients. This includes access to a comprehensive set of products and services, innovative investment tools and research, an integrated brokerage and trust platform, and dedicated client service professionals – all designed to help its clients thrive by growing their businesses, more effectively meeting customer needs, and enhancing operational efficiency and profitability. Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services custodies more than $475 billion in assets on behalf of 3,300 clients, as of September 30, 2011. For more information about Fidelity’s services, please visit http://fiws.fidelity.com.
About Fidelity Investments®
Fidelity Investments is one of the world’s largest providers of financial services, with assets under administration of $3.4 trillion, including managed assets of $1.5 trillion, as of October 31, 2011. Founded in 1946, the firm is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and many other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals and institutions, as well as through 5,000 financial intermediary firms. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit www.fidelity.com.
About Quantuvis Consulting, Inc.
Founded in 1996, Quantuvis Consulting, Inc. is a national consulting firm that specializes in practice management consulting to successful financial advisors and institutions. With more than 15 years consulting directly with some of the industry’s most successful advisory firms, as well as leading custodians, broker-dealers, distributors and professional organizations, Quantuvis has become a recognized leader in consulting and research aimed at helping financial advisors build better, more profitable businesses. Acquired in 2008, Quantuvis Consulting is a wholly owned subsidiary of Genworth Financial. Quantuvis is Latin for, “As great as you please, however great.” Helping advisors build their “great” business—whatever that means to them— is more than a purpose, it is our passion. To learn more about Quantuvis, please visit: www.quantuvis.com.
1 Aite Group: “Fidelity Investments is the fastest growing player in the RIA custody arena. The firm grew its custody assets by more than a quarter in each of the last two years…”; “New Realities in Wealth Management: From Dusk Till Dawn,” July 2011