Top financial services PR firm asks: Are RIA firms failing their future?

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As a top financial PR firm, we’ve had the fortune of working with a diverse group of financial services firms. Mutual funds, ETF sponsors, CPA firms, banks, and asset managers have populated our client roster for years. However, our financial PR unit was formed when a fee-only advisory firm came to us a dozen years ago asking if we would handle a public relations campaign for a growing RIA. It’s that long-standing tie to the RIA industry that made us take notice when we saw the recent Financial Advisor Study from Natixis Global Asset Management.

The study covered many topics, but the statistic that stands out and raises a real alarm is this one:

“Only 40% of advisors globally are actively seeking younger clients to replace older clients or those in decumulation phase.”

Taken another way, six out of 10 advisors are NOT actively seeking to replace clients that are currently spending down their assets. Given the typical age of the leadership of these firms, the data begs the question: are they not actively pursuing replacement clients because business is still too good, or because they do not know how to market to the next generation?

The irony of this seeming lack of action is that there are more tools than ever, powered by technology and innovation, that allow advisors to leverage their marketing time to a greater degree. At the same time, the next generation of investors is more likely to search the internet for advice and resources.

Failing to embrace search engine strategies, media relations, social media portals like LinkedIn or Google+, and the lack of time committed to approaching the next generation is an epic fail — these firms are truly failing their own future.

The best financial PR firms are helping their clients catch up to the curve in their marketing and communications. Here are three recommendations for RIA firms looking to launch an active marketing strategy to recruit younger clients to account for the realities of an aging client base:

1) Forget Facebook: While advisors have finally become comfortable with having a presence on Facebook, this is not the place to start. The puck is moving constantly so we’d recommend …

2) Get a hold of Google+: An increasing percentage of would-be financial advisory customers are finding and vetting candidates online. This social network isn’t really a social network, it’s a social tool to boost your own search presence.

3) In the age of ubiquitous social media, third-party validation is more important than ever. The next generation of clients has more tools to verify your standing as a competent professional and your firm’s position as a credible provider. Embracing the opportunity to share your expertise and insight with the media can serve to elevate your firm’s profile and develop your personal credibility.

RIA firms looking to audit their marketing strategies can contact us here.