As financial planning and wealth management become increasingly popular, advisors are increasingly experiencing a "crisis of differentiation" where it's difficult to distinguish themselves from the competition. This has not only slowed the organic growth rates of many advisory firms as it gets harder to generate referrals, but made client retention all the more crucial to maintain the revenue of an advisory firm.
A new offering for financial advisors called SAGE Scholars offers a unique new way for advisors to offer a "client perk" that can help to support retention and potentially generate referrals: Tuition Rewards, which are "rewards points" clients can accrue based on the assets under management (or potentially, the retainer fees) being paid to the advisor, as a rate of 5%/year of the AUM. Which means a client with $1,000,000 of assets with an advisor can potentially accrue a whopping 50,000 points per year, which can be used as a dollar-for-dollar discount for tuition amongst a list of 323 eligible colleges and universities (up to 1 year's worth of free tuition) for any family member (including children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc.).
Ultimately, the reality is that many students can already potentially earn merit-based aid and discounts from many schools, but there is little certainty about whether the discounts will really be there when the time comes. From the advisor's perspective, then, offering Tuition Rewards as a form of "loyalty points" for clients can have a high perceived value for clients who wish to stay with the advisor, and be something that potentially generates "buzz" amongst clients to drive additional referrals as well. In an environment where it's difficult to find unique "client perks" that are relevant to clients in the first place, the SAGE Scholars program represents an intriguing new opportunity!