LISA SALVI: Congratulations to all RIA firms for your hard work and success over the last few years. It has led to some great results.
The value proposition RIA firms offer is exactly what many investors want and need during times of uncertainty and volatility.
This client-first commitment coupled with an entrepreneurial mindset has helped drive three key trends.
First, talent is now a top strategic priority. Second, more firms are turning to digital processes to improve efficiency. And, third, written strategies are helping drive organic growth.
Let's go ahead and unpack these just a little bit. This year, for the first time ever, recruiting new staff is a top strategic priority for firms, jumping ahead of acquiring new clients through referrals which typically takes that number one spot. Eighty percent of all firms plan to hire in 2022, and based on current growth, the median firm in the study will need to hire six new roles in the next five years to keep up with that growth.
Overall, more than two-thirds of firms reported offering clearly defined career paths and/or career progression opportunities.
Top performing firms also take a very proactive approach to hiring and retaining talent. Our study found that they're more likely to have documented talent strategies and an employee value proposition to help them compete in a tight labor market.
That employee value proposition is especially critical because it explains what a firm offers its employees in return for their skills, capabilities, and experiences they bring. This is, essentially, your talent brand in the marketplace.
Another key trend is that the vast majority of firms we surveyed use digital workflows and continue to adopt digital capabilities. This leap in digital adoption since the pandemic began has led to major productivity and efficiency gains for all firms.
Top performing firms are more often high adopters of digital tools and standardized workflows. This led to tangible efficiency gains, with these firms spending nearly 20% less per client on operations and administration.
Organic growth was also a major driver of overall growth in 2021. But what powered these gains?
Firms with a written marketing plan, ideal client persona, and client value proposition gained 42% more new clients than firms that didn't have all three in place.
Documenting referral plans also helped to make an impact. Firms with written referral plans generated more new clients from business partners and from client referrals.
A huge thank you to each and every firm who participated in this study, and even if you didn't participate, please take a look at our website because we will share a wealth of information about where our industry stands and how we're evolving.