How many financial advice clients is optimal for better results?

By Ryan Smith on September 17, 2018

An ideal client base won't necessarily be your biggest.

As a financial adviser, you’ll be aware of your own skills and unique selling points – after all, this is how you’ve always successfully turned investor leads into clients. However, it’s also vital that you’re aware of your peak operational capacity. This involves knowing how many clients is optimal for you to achieve better results.


One of the most obvious factors that will limit the number of clients that you can realistically have at any one time is how your own resources stack up. There are basically two elements to this particular equation, and they are time and your own finances.

Time is one of the most valuable resource in many businesses, and it really is of paramount importance for a financial adviser. Knowing how to manage your own time so that you can juggle the demands of finding that all-important next finance lead with providing a top-quality service for your existing clients is a vital skill.

Your own finances come into this equation, because if you have too many clients to deal with yourself, then that might prove the ideal time to expand and grow your business. Of course, you might already have employees, or you might actually not want to have anyone on your payroll. This could be because you provide a bespoke service that relies on you selling your own unique personal perspective. If this is the case, then passing pension leads or even existing clients on to someone in your established referral network might be a good choice.

Is there a limit?

As you could always change your time priorities or expand to take on more staff, you might actually ask yourself whether there really is a limit as to how many clients you should have to get better results. With qualified leads for financial advisers so difficult to find, and taking into account the effort that you will have put into the process, it might seem counter-intuitive to ever envisage a point where you would think that you had too many options.

Of course, your business plan should have clearly defined how many clients you can handle at any one point in your development right from the start, and it should also have options built in to deal with changes in either direction. Ultimately, trying to work overcapacity at any point could be as harmful to your business as not having enough clients. If you can’t do a good job for the people you are working for, then your reputation will suffer and your position among your competitors will be severely weakened.

What’s your optimal number?

Knowing your optimal number of clients does seem to be a key element in running a successful business, but the question still remains: how do you come to the right figure?

Client capacity can be a difficult thing to quantify because it will surely change depending on the amount of work that you have at any one time versus the time that you need to put into generating more work. Other factors, such as focusing on generating more pension transfer leads, can also enter the picture, so knowing when to change tack a little can play an important part in working things out.

Ultimately, the answer will really be quite straightforward, because if at any point you realise that you need to give more time to existing clients in order to do them justice, then you’ll know that you are working to your limits already.

Marketing and client acquisition

Finding the latest investing lead is always a must for a financial adviser as you never know when your client base might shrink unexpectedly. Knowing the right mix of giving time over to marketing and client acquisition and getting on with your real work of looking after clients’ interests is the true skill in working out your optimal capacity in real terms.

Technology and efficiency

Of course, the role that technology plays in the day-to-day activities of your work as a financial adviser means that the optimal number of clients that you can have today and still achieve better results is far larger than it was in the past.

The simple time management savings that can be made by using remote real-time communications is only one aspect in the way that technology has changed the financial adviser landscape. The growing influence of so-called “robo-advice” isn’t limited to major corporations, and more and more advisers are able to take advantage of the wider spread of cost-effective auto-advice software tools.

The greater potential reach that social media offers is another factor that needs to be considered, as today the potential for reaching out to new investor leads is greater than ever before.

In spite of all this, in-person face-to-face interaction is still an important aspect of the work for many, and you will know the truth in the statement that client-adviser relationships need a “real world” aspect to really build that trust element that is essential to the work.

You are unique

Of course, your client capacity is different from that of your rivals because no two sets of circumstances will be the same. You might be just starting out. You may feel driven to work 20 hours a day building networks and your client base with little or no distractions. You could be someone who takes a “work to live, not live to work” view and be happy taking things at a slower pace.

However, you might be in the position where you are already thinking, “Do I have too many clients?” If this is the case, then only you can really assess your own situation properly, as you might be at the cusp of taking your business to the next level or you might have now achieved the success that you planned for in the first place.

Any individual will have any number of different factors that affect their ultimate decision regarding the size of their client base and their abilities to deliver results. Understanding this is one of the key skills that you need to develop to make a success of your business in financial advice.

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