Virtual events: a key tool to boost engagement with RIAs

Friday, June 4, 2021 | By Saadiah Freeman, Product Manager, Research & Consulting

Virtual events: a key tool to boost engagement with RIAs

Gaining ground in the fast-growing RIA space is an important priority for many asset managers. However, engagement strategies and tactics that work with broker/dealer advisors are not always the most effective ways to capture RIAs’ attention—or their business. Independent RIAs, in particular, are often less inclined to interact with asset management salespeople than other advisors and are more likely to invest in products without the involvement of a salesperson. Our 2021 advisor research[1] indicates that, on average, independent RIAs have 27% of their book invested in products from asset managers whose salespeople they have never met. For the average advisor, this figure is 20%, while advisors who are employees of a broker/dealer have just 16% of their book invested in products from firms whose salespeople they have not met.

As these figures illustrate, getting sales meetings with RIAs can be a significant challenge for asset managers. To increase the likelihood that RIAs will agree to meet with your firm’s salespeople, it is important to understand what factors influence their decision-making process around sales meetings, and how these factors differ from other types of advisors. In our research, we asked advisors, “Which of the following methods are most likely to persuade you to meet virtually (phone/video chat) one-on-one with a salesperson you don’t know from an asset manager you do not do business with?” Advisors were asked to choose all applicable responses from a selection of options. As you can see from the table below, independent RIAs and advisors employed by broker/dealers differed sharply in their responses.


Independent RIAs

Advisors employed by broker/dealer firms


Virtual event on value add (e.g. practice management, technology training) – 33%

Recommendation/introduction from another financial advisor at the same firm – 58%


Virtual event on specific products/strategies – 28%

Salesperson demonstrates real knowledge of your practice/local market when they call or email for the meeting – 28%


Virtual events on investment-related content (e.g. ESG) – 26%

Salesperson consistently emails you useful information on the markets, trends and strategies, without pushing products – 25%


It’s clear from these statistics that quality virtual events are a key weapon in the arsenal for asset managers seeking to get more meetings with independent RIAs. And virtual events aren’t just useful as a way to get RIAs to meet with salespeople. Virtual events on specific products/strategies are also independent RIAs’ #1 preferred method for gathering more information on an asset management firm that they have never done business with nor used its products, and for engaging with an asset manager with whom they have an existing relationship. In summary, while the independent RIA space can be challenging for asset managers, virtual events—especially those focused on products and strategies—are a great way for firms to boost engagement with this important group of advisors.

For more about advisor preferences and how to improve distribution efforts, read more about our research offerings.



[1] SS&C Advisor Insights, conducted in association with Horsesmouth

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