Rather than bemoan the market’s abysmal performance, investors’ skepticism and the fact that their own revenues declined an average of 40% in 2008, financial advisers overwhelmingly are viewing the economic crisis as a time to strengthen client relationships, SEI found. And most believe they will be able to expand their client base, with 51% expecting the market to rebound as early as the second quarter.

Financial advisers’ New Year’s resolutions include growing their business by 20%, adding $30 million in assets under management and increasing revenue by 15%.

Forty percent said that due to the market’s decline in 2008, they were able to reach out to clients and strengthen relationships. Twenty-eight percent said their clients now better appreciate their personal, not just investment, advice.

Forty-five percent said they are going to concentrate on new business opportunities in 2009, and 24% said they will increase their strategic partnerships with accountants and estate attorneys. Another 24% plan to build business through referrals.

Forty-nine percent said their clients discovered they were not as risk-tolerant as they thought in 2008, yet 33% said they thought they could handle the volatility by focusing on the long term.

“Even in the face of the challenging conditions of 2008, advisers are determined to find ways to add value to their client relationships,” said Stephen Onofrio, senior managing director of the SEI Adviser Network. “This past year was SEI’s biggest for new adviser recruitment, and we found that most advisers were focused on providing strategy that went above and beyond just investments.”

Advisers’ top nine resolutions for the New Year are:


1. Grow referrals.
2. Conduct more marketing initiatives.
3. Hire staff.
4. Be more proactive with clients.
5. Retain existing clients.
6. Add services to practice.
7. Truly focus on clients' needs.
8. Obtain larger clients.
9. Manage expenses better.

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