Through Financial Clarity and Adviser Clarity clients can see both the concentration of fish across different ponds and the type of fish residing in each. Insights that can be leveraged to efficiently allocate sales resources based on the richness of the waters.

October 2, 2023

Gone Fishing (For Sales Leads)


“If you give someone a fish, you feed them for a day. If you teach someone to fish, you feed them for a lifetime” – Unknown

Are sales data and prospect lists really that different? If your sales team is provided a one-time list of 100, 500 or 1,000 contacts, how long will that keep the team active? Is it not the case that your organisation would benefit from an evolving source of market intelligence, which helps you identify which ponds are richest based on your catch preferences and keeps you attuned to when new fish enter or evolve within your ponds of focus?

When it comes to the United Kingdom, there is no doubt that the waters are rich when it comes to retail wealth management. The challenge in the UK is that behind the trillions of pounds of wealth held by retail clients, is a diversity of firms of all shapes and sizes. Like a predator sizing up a school of fish, the potential for confusion and an inability to efficiently target the right fish runs high. The financial adviser channel best highlights the sales and marketing challenge for firms targeting the UK’s wealth management business, as it alone contains 1,000s of firms. In addition to the sheer number of advisory firms, these firms also vary greatly in size and shape, from a single adviser to 100s of advisers within a larger vertically integrated entity and are spread far and wide geographically.

Taking the still widely deployed geographical approach to segmenting the market, and we can begin to appreciate the need to have a fish finder of one’s own. To target those advisory firms accounting for 50% of the close to £160 billion in trailing 12 months of gross sales, one would need to target 35 different towns or cities. This lowers slightly using an assets under management view (AUM) to 30 towns or cities. Within this best-selling 30, however, are advisory firms spanning the breadth of the UK.

Figure 1: Best-selling 35 towns by trailing 12-month gross sales*

*Based on the head or primary office of the firm

Although the above list is geographically spread, covering all four corners, it is clear that a relatively few ponds accounted for the majority of sales and AUM. London alone in fact accounted for roughly 15% of 12-month trailing gross sales and AUM as of June 2023. London, however, contained the highest number of firms and RIs, at over 1000 firms and 5,000 RIs respectively. Reaching this 15% in full may therefore come at such a cost such that are other markets are not targeted. And London is by no means the only place the big fish swim. The title for the towns where advisory firms or RIs are most productive, measured by gross sales divided by firm count or RI count, go to Boldon Collier and Spennymoor. Looking for big fish in small ponds could just be the strategy for you.  

In today’s digital age not all will be inclined to take a geographic approach to penetrating the UK financial adviser channel. If one takes a pure firm-size based view, it can be seen that to reach all financial adviser firms with trailing 12-month gross sales above £100m+, then 270 firms will need to be in view. Want to expand this to all firms over £25m in trailing gross sales, then add another 1,100+ firms to the list.

Figure 2: Financial adviser firms by trailing gross sales

All of this is to say that the waters are rich but widely spread in the UK’s advice market. It is this diversity that explains the comparatively wide array of vendors across almost every level of the UK wealth management value-chain. Currently, there is almost always room for one more as only a select few have the distribution capabilities to fish in every pond. It also explains why consolidation in the industry is being watched so closely, with the big fish consuming the smaller fish, as it is well understood that the tools needed to hook these bigger fish may just differ.

It is with a mind to helping clients conquer the challenge of how to efficiently allocate sales and marketing resources that Financial Clarity and now Adviser Clarity were born. Containing thousands of contactable individuals across a wide spectrum of UK financial services firms, these products have become as critical for today’s wholesaler as fish finder technology is to the modern fisher. Through these data solutions clients can see both the concentration of fish across different ponds and the type of fish residing in each pond. This insight can be leveraged not only to figure out which lines to use in each pond but to allocate sales resources based on the richness of the waters. 

Talk to us today to learn more about how ISS Market Intelligence can help your business.

Happy fishing!

Commentary by ISS Market Intelligence

Authored by: Benjamin Reed-Hurwitz, Vice President, EMEA Research Leader, ISS Market Intelligence

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