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Fifth Annual Advisor Authority Study Reveals Seven Traits of Highly Successful Advisors for Driving Growth and Outpacing the Competition

Louisville, KY – Now Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) and fee-based advisors can adopt the seven traits that highly successful advisors have been leveraging year over year to earn more and manage more AUM, according to the latest findings from the fifth annual Advisor Authority study. Commissioned by Nationwide Advisory Solutions and conducted online by The Harris Poll through an online survey of nearly 1,600 financial advisors and individual investors, the study defines successful advisors as those who earn a personal annual income of $500,000 or more from their advisory business, or individually manage a total AUM of $250 million or more.

This new Special Report, “Successful Advisors: The Year Over Year Trends,” reveals how top performing RIAs and fee-based advisors create greater value for their clients and drive greater growth for their firms. Since the launch of the Advisor Authority study in 2015, the highly successful RIAs and fee-based advisors who earn more and manage more AUM have consistently shared seven traits that help them to drive growth, set the trends and stay one step ahead of the competition.

“Year over year, Advisor Authority has shown that the RIAs and fee-based advisors poised to succeed in the face of increasing competition and the complex dynamics of today’s uncertain world, are those who can differentiate themselves by adopting new technology, adapting to new trends and—perhaps most importantly—putting clients first,” said Craig Hawley, Head of Nationwide Advisory Solutions. “By combining our most recent data with the hands-on knowledge we’ve gained from serving RIAs and fee-based advisors for more than a decade, our latest Advisor Authority Special Report provides a playbook for advisors at every level to learn the seven traits of highly successful advisors, including actionable insights to meet consumer demand, enhance profitability now—and position their firm for the future.”

From among the seven traits of successful advisors found in this new Advisor Authority Special Report, RIAs and fee-based advisors can start to create their own competitive advantage and forge their own path to greater success by focusing on these four:

STAY ONE STEP AHEAD. Year over year, successful advisors prove they’re the ones spotting the latest trends and setting new ones. When it comes to enhancing profitability, year over year, RIAs and fee-based advisors continue to say that the push for new clients is the top driver. Meanwhile, successful advisors stay a step ahead of all other advisors and diversify their plans for profitability by putting more importance on adding new hires (22% vs 11%) and consolidating technology (21% vs 15%). In fact, year over year data shows that successful advisors have consistently relied less on adding new clients than all other advisors (37% vs 46%) and consistently put more focus on adding new technology (27% vs 25%), consolidating technology (21% vs 15%) and adding new hires (22% vs 11%).

BE A TECH INNOVATOR. Successful advisors recognize the value of adopting new technology. On the technology front, successful advisors are a clear step ahead of all other advisors in integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) (41% vs 27%) and robo-advisors (26% vs 17%) into their practice. Successful advisors are also somewhat more likely than all other advisors to integrate interactive websites and/or client portals (47% vs 38%), mobile websites and/or mobile apps (45% vs 40%), tax optimization tools (38% vs 35%) and account aggregation systems (34% vs 31%). They use technology to transform every aspect of the customer experience, from the front-end to the back office, opening the door to a new category of client, offering a new universe of products and solutions—and ultimately gaining an edge over the competition.

PUT CLIENTS FIRST. By aligning with clients’ best interest, successful advisors earn their trust, deepen the advisor/investor relationship, create greater loyalty—and ultimately bring more assets under management. Putting clients first is the foundation for a thriving practice. It all begins with a fiduciary standard. While the DOL, the SEC and various states have been engaged in their own definition of best interest, and implementing their own version of a fiduciary standard, successful advisors are somewhat more likely than all other advisors to agree that there should be one federal fiduciary standard across the financial industry (82% vs 74%).

COMMIT TO AN EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE. From the first contact with a new client, to daily communications and their annual review, successful advisors are committed to creating exceptional experiences for their clients. Most importantly, successful advisors are leveraging technology to enhance the experience for their clients. In 2019, successful advisors are somewhat more likely than all other advisors to say that technology helps them free up more time to focus on one-on-one relationships with their clients (35% vs 28%). They are also somewhat more likely to use technology to protect clients against market risk (33% vs 26%) and to provide them with more holistic planning (29% vs 25%).

To learn more about all seven traits of highly successful advisors, financial professionals can download the Advisor Authority 2019 Special Report, “Successful Advisors: The Year Over Year Trends”: https://know.nationwideadvisory.com/AdvisorAuthority2019Ch2

For key insights on the seven traits of successful advisors, financial professionals can also download the latest Advisor Authority 2019 infographic at: https://know.nationwideadvisory.com/AdvisorAuthority2019Ch2Infographic

Nationwide Advisory Solutions was built from the ground up to serve RIAs and fee-based advisors.

Their fifth annual Advisor Authority study explores the investing and advising issues confronting RIAs, fee-based advisors and investors—and the innovative techniques that they need to succeed in today’s complex market. These latest findings are to be followed by a series of ongoing reports that will be released through the first quarter of 2020.

About Advisor Authority: Methodology

The fifth annual Advisor Authority Survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Nationwide Advisory Solutions from February 15 – March 4, 2019 among 1,021 financial advisors and 824 investors, ages 18+. Among the 1,021 financial advisors, there were 507 Registered Investment Advisors and 514 Broker/Dealers. Among these respondents, a “trended group” of 766 RIAs and fee-based advisors, who meet the same qualification criteria as in prior years of our Advisor Authority research, continue to be the primary focus in this year’s series of Special Reports. Advisors are weighted where necessary by employment status and active management to bring them in line with previous years’ profile. Investors are weighted where necessary by age by gender, race/ethnicity, region, education, income, marital status, household size, investable assets and propensity to be online to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population.

About The Harris Poll

The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys in the U.S. tracking public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963 that is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm that delivers social intelligence for transformational times. We work with clients in three primary areas; building twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. Our mission is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best decisions possible. To learn more, please visit www.theharrispoll.com.

About Nationwide

Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.