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How to Increase Your AUM by 49%: Set Clear Goals…and Reflect Back!

By ClientWise | February 11, 2014

Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road
Dag Hammarskjold


Goal setting is a fundamental precept of many successful financial advisors. It is also a standard component of traditional coaching approaches. Whether or not one uses the existing goal setting models such as SMART Goals, or PRISM Goals, or some other framework; the goal-setting process is a critical marker on the road map to success.


As a stark demonstration of the catalytic effect of goal setting, ClientWise recently undertook a study in collaboration with our Australian research partner, Business Health Pty. Ltd. The participants in this study were 125 top-performing financial advisory teams who attended the recent Barron’s Team Summit. Among the questions within the survey, was this one:


Do you and the other members of your practice set clear goals and priorities periodically, and then reflect back on them at the end of each quarter?


The results were unambiguous:

  • 10.4% responded, “No, we rarely set goals.” This group reported an average of $79,459,928.00 per team member.
  • A majority, 50.4%, said, “Sometimes.” This group reports $113,646,756.00 per team member.
  • 39.2% were definitive in their response, “Yes, we always set goals.” This group led the pack with $118,532,325.00 in AUM per team member.


The definitive goal-setting group had accumulated 49% more in assets versus the group who never set goals. Tellingly, even setting goals “sometimes”, led to 43% more assets than not setting them at all.



Note that the survey question wasn’t just, “Do you set goals?” There are three additional layers to the question.

  1. Setting clear goals
  2. Setting goals periodically
  3. Reflecting on these goals periodically


As such, it is the goal-setting process and framework that is equally important in the achievement of your objectives. One more critical factor is that the goals and the goal-setting process are top-of-mind. This happens by attending to the goals on a periodic (i.e. quarterly) basis, as opposed to a one-time exercise that happens in November, December, and January or whenever…and is ignored for the rest of the year.


We trust this helps.



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Topics: Goals

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