Bringing in millennial clients: Invite, Involve, and Invest

Disruptive innovation is constantly barking at the heels of financial advisory practices, influencing everything from operations to client demographics.  Lincoln famously said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” The “blue ocean” practice opportunity is typically found in those who invest in potential.

Millennials are the potential of the U.S. economy. Companies are working to better understand their needs and desires and accordingly, change the workplace to match this new generation. As an advisor who isn’t necessarily looking to hire millennials but rather “Invite, Involve, and Invest” in a process that includes the next generation of clients, what are some actionable steps that can be taken in each of these categories?

Invite: The first step is getting your name and brand out to millennials; even if they aren’t immediately looking for a financial advisor, familiarity can breed connectedness down the road.

  • 49% of your current clients’ children would be willing to meet with you if asked.1 Acquiring new clients requires more money and effort than expanding from the current customer base. Use a customer relationship management (CRM) system or an intern to inventory family relationships with millennial children.
  • In family meetings, discover financial literacy gaps between generations and gauge or plan events on life insurance, estate, business succession, or education funding for millennials.
  • Also consider planning events outside of your business line — anything from a 5K to a wine tasting event. Getting millennials to interact with the firm in activities that they enjoy can help them build personal connections with your brand.

Involve: When making any business-related decision, look at it from the perspective of a millennial. See them as an integrated part of the financial services market now.

  • Catering to millennials means being more than the book definition of a financial advisor. Research shows that advisors who enhance client relationships beyond traditional investment management practices capture more AUM and have higher loyalty than those who don’t. Advisors who are “relationship builders” manage 40% more AUM than other advisors.2 Get involved in client life events and connect millennials to jobs, travel, your favorite brands.
  • Offer a reduced-fee “family account” for children of current clients.

Invest: Long-term growth requires an investment in the people, practice, and process. Catering to a new customer segment and enhancing the offering to current clients can pay enormous dividends in client retention and practice valuation.

  • Start small by investing in a financial planning internship to determine goodness of fit for young talent.
  • Develop a process that centers around a clear vision, measurable tasks, and scalable strategy.
  • Leverage technology to improve your brand and marketing strategy, ultimately creating a consistent brand across all platforms.
  • Create a teaming strategy with a NextGen planner. Employing a NextGen advisor could make your firm more appealing, signaling to your potential clients that there is a business plan in place that will last multiple generations.
  • In order to offer millennials a tangible experience of your services, establish a freemium model. Give away a small part of your service — newsletter, blog, seminar — to establish value and a migration path to your business.

While it is easy to view these changes as purely favorable for the millennial client, they in fact provide benefits for all of your clients. These initiatives help build a brand that shows commitment to the long-term success of clients through multiple generations.


1 The Tipping Point: Will the Coming Wave of Wealth Value Advice?, Fidelity, 2015

2Advisor Value Study, Fidelity, 2015



Investment professionals should always consult their compliance department and individual firm policies before accessing any social media or using online communication tools for a business purpose. Any and all communications with the public should be compliance approved and in line with your firm’s guidelines.

Macquarie Group has no affiliation with any vendor or service mentioned in this presentation.

The information provided is not intended to be a forecast or guarantee of future events or results.

All other company, product, and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others and their use does not imply their endorsement of, or an association with, this program.

All third-party marks are property of their respective owners.

The views expressed are those of Nathan Harness and do not necessarily reflect those of Macquarie Investment Management (MIM), or any of its employees.

Mr. Harness agrees to hold MIM harmless from any claims of intellectual property rights infringement that may arise out of MIM’s use of the foregoing materials.

For educational purposes and for investment professional use only. Not for use with the general public.

© 2018 Macquarie Management Holdings, Inc.

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