When it comes to a mutual fund company's success with branding and client referrals, financial advisors can play a key role.

Advisors can help fund providers boost their distribution levels by building solid reputations within the advisor community. "Having a good reputation with advisors can go a long way because it tends to spread," says Steve Savage, managing partner at Litman Gregory just outside San Francisco. "The advisor community is very close-knit where there is a lot of referencing and comparison of notes."

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