Referrals are still the best way out there to build a book of business, but Fidelity hopes that making the process of identifying likely prospects more scientific will help its affiliates grow faster.
The company's new tool is called Referral-EDGEsm and basically works like a high-powered customer relationship management (CRM) system tailored to lead generation and prospect management.
Fidelity's ace in the hole here, though, is that the tool taps into a database of 2.5 million high-net-worth individuals as well as foundations, retirement plans, and other institutional prospects.
By scanning for existing clients or contacts, an advisor can put together a road map to their known associates and so get a better sense of just who a given client can set up an introduction with.
The system also logs wealth creation events -- new jobs, promotions, and probably even HNW obituaries -- in order to let advisors know who may suddenly be in need of an advisor and how to network into their awareness.
It is definitely a competitive edge over non-Fidelity rivals. But for the 3,000 advisors on the platform, it is easy to see the system becoming a channel for Fidelity advisors to compete more aggressively against each other for each new lead that materializes on all their screens at once.
Might be better to figure out roughly what the system does and then replicate a similar -- but of course, not identical -- version on your own to uncover leads that nobody else is finding.