Advisors who study their client demographics more thoroughly may find that their practices get a boost as a result.

Take a look at how many clients are millennials, baby boomers, pre-retirees and retirees. What is each group’s investment characteristics?

Those are factors that David Canter, executive vice president at Fidelity, said that advisors should consider based on a recent benchmarking study that found that 23% of the clients of firms Fidelity surveyed were at least 70 and held 28% of the firm’s assets.

“If you’re an advisory firm and your clients look like this, you better have a strong stable of clients younger or have a really good engagement strategy for their children, their spouses, their grandchildren, and so on, if you want to continue to grow your business,” said Canter, who heads the practice management and consulting group at Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions.

If advisors had greater knowledge about their clients’ demographics, they could determine what to emphasize to build their practices, not only for existing clients but multiple generations as well.

Demographics have always played a big role at MACRO Consulting Group, a wealth management firm based in Parsippany, N.J., which continually studies the makeup of its clientele with an eye toward growth and the future.

“We spend a lot of time looking at the demographics of our clients” said Nick Spagnoletti Jr., a CFP and partner at the firm. “If we know what our typical client looks like, we’ll have more depth of knowledge on a limited range of topics most important to them.”

Elizabeth McCourt, a coach, consultant and owner of McCourt Leadership Group in Westhampton Beach, N.Y., agrees that the demographics of a firm’s clientele can be an important determinant in building the practice.

"It's possible to choose a demographic niche," she said.

"If you are a millennial or someone who enjoys talking to millennials, for example, there would be an opportunity to focus on millennials as a way to grow your practice," McCourt said. "If you're someone male or female in their mid-40s, with children, you will inevitably have an opportunity to service that demographic niche by personally connecting with them."

But "I wouldn't necessarily pigeonhole yourself," McCourt said.

"I would take a holistic approach to the needs of your client and how you service them and their family,” she said.

Bruce W. Fraser, a New York financial writer, contributes to Financial Planning and On Wall Street magazines.

This story is part of a 30-day series on smart ways to grow your practice.

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