ANNOUNCEMENT: UK Adviser is now PA Adviser. Read more.

Inactive financial advisers missing out on client referrals

It is time to ‘adapt’, ‘accept’, and ‘find a new way of building relationships’


The financial advice industry has notoriously increased its client base through referrals, but it seems that not all planners are keeping in close contact with professional connections to grow their business.

Octopus Investments surveyed 200 UK financial advisers and found there was a four-fold increase in referrals from accountants and solicitors among those who actively pursue professional connections as part of their strategy for gaining new clients.

However, despite 70% of advisers saying that these relationships are key to growing their business, the research discovered that only 56% of advisers are actively developing this type of connections.

While the covid-19 pandemic has inevitably presented additional challenges for advisers looking to build new relationships, Octopus also highlighted some fundamental misconceptions that are preventing some advisers making the most of their professional connections.


The main barrier for advisers appears to be a mistaken belief that the other parties are not interested, with 62% advisers citing a “lack of appetite” from accountants and solicitors.

A further 39% said they thought saturation was an issue, as accountants and solicitors are already working with enough advisers and are consequently not interested in developing new connections.

However, the research showed this to be a misconception.

Only 1% of the 100 accountants and solicitors surveyed by Octopus Investments said they had never referred a client to a financial adviser, while each professional said they have worked with an average of four-to-five advisers over the past two years.

In addition, only 29% of accountants and solicitors surveyed said they already work with enough financial advisers, suggesting there is plenty of opportunity for advisers to grow their network of referral relationships.

Charlotte Fairhurst, strategic partnerships manager at Octopus Investments, said: “We’ve been running professional connection workshops with advisers for a number of years and this is a consistent theme.

“There is a perception that accountants and solicitors either aren’t interested, or they already have a referral relationship in place and are not looking to take on more.

“Yet, this research clearly shows there is still a huge opportunity to create new connections, in addition to the benefits for clients.”

The coronavirus-effect

The research also highlights the challenge presented by covid-19 in developing new professional connections.

Some 57% of advisers said the pandemic has made it harder to develop relationships, as 81% prefer to meet in person before making referrals.

Despite these hurdles, opportunities remain for those who are adaptable and willing to embrace the technological ways of working.

Rohan Sivajoti, co-founder of NextGen Planners, said: “People still haven’t accepted that this is how it is right now, and this is how it’s probably going to be for a while.

“It’s time to adapt, it’s time to accept, and it’s time to find a new way of building relationships.”

Dave Seager, managing director of Sifa Professional, added: “If you have the confidence to talk through what you do in a Zoom environment and you’re keen to build new professional connections, it’s actually quite easy to talk to solicitors at the moment.”

Latest Stories