In a rapidly consolidating industry, some registered investment advisers are finding and retaining clients in innovative ways and bypassing more traditional techniques.

Some, for example, are teaming up with larger partners, which gives them greater advantages and extra clout in attracting potential clients.

Steward Partners Global Advisory, based in Washington, an independent and employee-owned RIA, maintains a hybrid RIA-broker-dealer platform and is associated with the much larger Raymond James Financial Services. The firm serves elite families and multi-generational as well as institutional clients.

Gregory Banasz, managing director and the head of business development, says that the firm’s association with Raymond James Financial Services has “led us to more clients as we have been able to offer a broader platform and wider array of products and services.”

“In addition, we have the ability to leverage our own RIA, external partnerships and consortium of specialists to offer customizable financial plans and solutions,” he says.

Since its launch in 2013, Steward Partners Global Advisory has attracted enough clients to open seven branches in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions.


Other RIAs have developed different innovative strategies to attract new clients.

Some are creating unique client services experiences, such as setting up points and rewards programs. Another tool that RIA teams and wealth managers are using is what is known as “account aggregation” in which the adviser and client together have a complete picture of the client’s asset accounts, including 401(k)s and other retirement funds held outside the primary adviser’s company.

And some RIAs are creating more of a family office approach than a traditional brokerage style of investing.

Throughout a long career, Hans Scheil, a CFP and the president of Cardinal Retirement Planning, an RIA based in Cary, North Carolina, and the author of “The Complete Cardinal Guide to Planning for and Living in Retirement,” (Leapfolio, 2016) has never lacked for new clients.

That is because he wears two hats.

In addition to being an investment adviser representative, Scheil holds life and health insurance licenses in 49 states and the District of Columbia. He has sold supplemental Medicare plans since his college days.

Scheil has leveraged this experience by forming a separate small insurance agency within his regular investment practice staffed with insurance specialists.

One hand feeds the other, he says.

Many of Scheil’s mass-affluent and affluent clients who are in their 60s “sometimes care as much or more about their Medicare benefits and prescriptions in their supplemental plans than they do their investments,” he says.

Scheil says that his insurance practice, which includes long-term-care insurance and annuities, shields his firm from any possible conflicts of interest involving the sale of insurance. At the same time, it attracts clients to his investment practice, which he has built up over 40 years with a long roster of regular clients.

“We major in the minors,” Scheil says.

This story is part of a 30-30 series on smart strategies for RIAs.