Where do my future clients come from?

25 March 2019



Justin Corliss considers how you can retain beneficiaries as clients.

It’s a question that’s troubled many advisers. Is it targeting high net worth, is it specialising in a particular field or connecting with the multitude of clients you’ve acquired through auto enrolment? Of course all these are plausible solutions, but may involve significant marketing spends, further training or a lot of digging to find a few diamonds in the rough.

Perhaps the answer lies closer to home, with your own client bank, or more specifically their spouses and children. This isn’t automatic though. Evidence from the US suggests 70% of women considered dismissing their financial adviser after the death of their husband1

 Perhaps this reflects the adviser’s failure to engage with both parties of the marriage. This can especially be the case where one party is more financially confident, or simply has traditionally fulfilled that role in the relationship.

Further evidence suggests 18% of advisers have never met their clients' children2, meaning their children don’t know you, they don’t have a level of trust built up with you, and if they have their own adviser, they’ll probably want them to deal with the assets in the future. Remember, people buy from people.

Engaging with beneficiaries

There are plenty of steps you can take to prevent these issues arising, such as:

  • Making sure spouses attend and engage in initial and review meetings. You probably have a few couples that spring to mind immediately, where you regularly only see one party, or one party dominates the discussion and decision making. What can you do to increase engagement with the spouse so they understand the value you add, and see you as an ally if their partner is no longer around? If they don’t feel foolish or embarrassed about exposing their lack of understanding, they’re less likely to seek out a fresh start with a new adviser.
  • Asking clients to bring their adult children to meetings, as they’re likely to inherit their assets. Your client creating a will, or lasting power of attorney are opportunities for this. Provided your client agrees, discuss the IHT and income tax advantages you’ve created by keeping a significant amount of wealth in the drawdown plan. The children might not be aware much of this was done with them in mind. They may value your advice more if they know this, and be more likely to stick with this strategy once the assets pass to them.
  • Clients' children may not have significant wealth to invest at this stage, but they’re likely to have protection needs. This could be an opportunity to begin a business relationship with them.
  • Include children as trustees if applicable. Holding significant roles in the process may encourage them to see you as an advice partner rather than their parent’s adviser.
  • For wealthier parents or even grandparents, gifts out of normal expenditure to a LISA for first home purchase can help.  Including the recipient in the plan on an ongoing basis may retain them as a client.

Involving the children in meetings may even uncover surprising plans for an inheritance. The children may intend to pass any unused drawdown funds to their own children. This may mean your client altering the expression of wish on their pension to include their grandchildren. This way, the grandchildren have the option to receive income rather than being limited to a lump sum or annuity. This needs to be done while your client is still alive.

Future-proofing your business

Prospecting for new clients may have taken a back seat since pension freedoms, as business has been buoyant for many advisers. However clients age and pass away, with their wealth generally cascading to the next generation.

To protect the longevity of your business, and ultimately its value, organic growth via existing clients may be the answer.


1 Wealth Transfer: Is your firm's share walking out the door, Accenture consulting, 2018

2 Wealth Transfer: Is your firm's share walking out the door, Accenture consulting, 2018

About the author

Justin Corliss

Senior Business Development Manager

Justin Corliss is a Senior Business Development Manager with Royal London. Justin’s career in financial services began in his native Australia in 1997, where he worked for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in client facing mortgage roles. Since moving to Scotland in 2002 he has held positions as a broker consultant for both Scottish Widows and Scottish Life dealing predominately with pensions. Before assuming his current role he worked as an Employee Benefits Consultant with a private firm. Justin holds the Chartered Institute of Insurance Advanced Diploma in Financial Services including AF3 & AF7.

Last updated: 11 Jul 2019

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The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. The firm is on the Financial Services Register, registration number 117672. It provides life assurance and pensions. Registered in England and Wales number 99064. Registered office: 55 Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 0RL.