A key difference between prosperous and low-performing financial advisors is how they price their business, a new report from Toronto-based wealth management research company PriceMetrix has found.

The company took to analyzing what determines how well financial advisors’ businesses prosper at the suggestion of its clients at an event in September. The results of that research were released this week in a new report titled “The Anatomy of Outperformers.”

To compare the advisor groups, PriceMetrix drew from its data on retail financial advisors based both in the U.S. and Canada. The firm then separated the advisors into quartiles based on their growth in assets and organic revenue for the 12 months ending in June. The outperformers ranked in the top quartile, while the underperformers fell in the lowest category.

When PriceMetrix took a closer look at that group of financial advisors who successfully grew their assets, it found they were able to accomplish two things: they were able to consistently add new clients while also raising their prices.

“The key message is dropping price doesn’t keep clients,” PriceMetrix Chief Executive Doug Trott said. “It’s about your service level and the products you bring to offer them, and whether you’re helping them sleep atnight knowing you’re watching their finances for them.”

While the PriceMetrix data cannot account for those intangible results pointing to client satisfaction, there is one consistent habit of the outperforming financial advisors had, Trott said: culling their books.

That meant dropping one small household per week from their client list. The outperformers also consistently added larger client households, or those with $150,000 or more in assets, at a more rapid pace than the small households they were letting go. And, finally, the most successful financial advisors also charged millionaire clients at least 90 basis points.

For financial advisors looking to replicate that success, that means having the resolve to say no, Trott said, both to taking on the wrong clients and not adjusting their prices to suit them.

Most financial advisors, instead, make the mistake of spending too much time analyzing investments and picking stocks or funds, Trott said.

“They should be able to articulate their proposition, have a price on it, and if it’s a premium proposition and its premium service, they should charge a premium price,” Trott said. “They run their book instead of their book running them.”

Lorie Konish writes for On Wall Street.



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