February 07, 2013 09:38 ET

SEI Quick Poll: Advisors Expect Growth, but Don't Have a Growth Plan

SEI Identifies Five Strategies to Help Firms Build Long-Term Business Value

OAKS, PA--(Marketwire - Feb 7, 2013) -   While a majority of advisors expect at least moderate revenue growth in 2013, most have yet to develop formalized growth strategies according to an SEI (NASDAQ: SEIC) Quick Poll released today. More than half of advisors polled (53 percent) say they expect to see revenue increases of more than 15 percent in 2013, while all of those surveyed expect at least some level of growth. While most advisors have expressed a willingness to adopt best practices, just 15 percent of respondents said their firms currently have a regular process for achieving growth that they follow and monitor. The survey, completed by 111 financial advisors, points to a growing need for advisors to employ more formal processes and strategies for achieving and maintaining growth in the increasingly competitive advisor market.

"The survey results support other research that shows advisors want to grow and expect to grow, but many are lacking a systematic plan to achieve, monitor, and sustain growth," said John Anderson, Head of Practice Management for the SEI Advisor Network. "The reality is planning is a prerequisite for growth, but we also know that planning doesn't always come naturally or fit easily into the busy schedules of most advisors. That's why we've helped organize a complete set of strategies and tactics to help advisors move forward in the planning process for 2013 and begin to put a strategic framework around building long-term value in their businesses."

In addition to the survey questions about their planning strategies, advisors were also asked to identify what they saw as the biggest obstacle to growth. More than half (51 percent) said lack of focus, 18 percent said lack of resources, and 12 percent said lack of opportunity. While nearly all of the respondents admitted lacking a strategic process for growth, less than one in ten (9 percent) said lack of planning was their biggest obstacle to achieving growth.

To provide firms with a framework for planning and to help put them on a course for achieving sustainable growth, SEI has identified five strategies and accompanying tactics for building long-term business value. Those strategies include:

  • Create a firm culture - To achieve long-term sustainability it's critical to create a firm culture rather than to build an identity based on an individual owner. The first step to get clients to identify with the firm and not just the owner is to institutionalize client service. The more clients get comfortable with a team approach, the more value the firm will build.

  • Know your niche - Successful businesses are not "one size fits all" and advisors are no different. Define a market niche and own it. By defining and going after a specific target segment you'll have clients that value your wealth management approach and are loyal to your firm.  

  • Institutionalize marketing - For firms to truly grow, marketing can't be an activity done during downtime. Furthermore it needs to be viewed as an investment in the business and not just an expense. Make marketing a strategic priority by developing an actionable marketing plan with clear objectives, defined audience segments and measurable strategies and tactics. It's also important to earmark a sufficient budget and assign resources to execute it. When marketing becomes institutionalized, growth becomes much easier. 

  • Strengthen your team - More isn't always better when it comes to a team. The best firms focus on two things when it comes to team building: young talent and niche expertise. Make it a priority to identify the next generation of leaders for your business and to build expertise in valuable niche areas like estate planning or philanthropic advising. The stronger your team, the more value you will provide to clients in the short-term and the more value you will build in the business long-term.

  • Evolve management and governance - The best firms are not just good wealth managers, but good business managers. Look at your business strategically, understand your limitations, and put a plan in place to fill in the gaps. Always look for ways to evolve and set a vision for the next decade as opposed to the next quarter.

For the latest white paper and action plan checklist on 2013 strategies for building enterprise value in your practice, please visit here.

About The SEI Advisor Network
The SEI Advisor Network provides financial advisors with turnkey wealth management services through outsourced investment strategies, administration and technology platforms, and practice management programs. It is through these services that SEI helps advisors save time, grow revenues, and differentiate themselves in the market. With a history of financial strength, stability, and transparency, the SEI Advisor Network has been serving the independent financial advisor market for more than 20 years, has over 5,400 advisors who work with SEI, and $33.7 billion in advisors' assets under management (as of Dec. 31, 2012). The SEI Advisor Network is a strategic business unit of SEI. For more information, visit

About SEI
SEI (NASDAQ: SEIC) is a leading global provider of investment processing, fund processing, and investment management business outsourcing solutions that help corporations, financial institutions, financial advisors, and ultra-high-net-worth families create and manage wealth. As of December 31, 2012, through its subsidiaries and partnerships in which the company has a significant interest, SEI manages or administers $458 billion in mutual fund and pooled or separately managed assets, including $201 billion in assets under management and $257 billion in client assets under administration. For more information, visit