Client Leads and Referrals – The Latest Front in FA Recruiting Wars

James Miller, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst, Wealth Solutions Report

Prudential Advisors Supports FA Recruiting Growth with Robust Prospective Client Lead and Referral Generation Program

Financial advisors know some things with certainty, and chief among those is that prospecting for clients is one of the most challenging – yet mission critical – activities in the profession. 

Some financial advisors rely on the proven formula of generating referrals from existing clients, while other advisors directly contract with third-party digital client lead gen platforms, like SmartAsset

But the constant refrain from financial advisors at every stage of the business life cycle is this: It’s difficult to generate a consistent, robust volume of highly qualified leads from prospects who are actively inclined to seek professional financial guidance.

Increasingly, firms that offer a superior solution in this regard could find themselves in pole position in the ever-intensifying financial advisor recruiting wars.

Recruiting Growth

Dan Flynn, Vice President, Head of Recruiting, Learning & Business Consulting, Prudential Financial

That’s where Prudential Advisors may have developed an edge. Supporting over 3,000 financial advisors, financial planners and field managers across the country, with several hundred home office employees, the firm has gained traction in recruiting successful and experienced financial advisors, especially since the arrival of Brad Hearn and Dan Flynn.

Hearn is President, Retail Advice and Solutions at Prudential Financial and oversees the company’s advice businesses, including Prudential Advisors. He joined Prudential in 2018, having previously served for nearly a decade as a senior executive across multiple functions at LPL Financial.   

Flynn arrived at Prudential in 2019 and serves as Vice President and Head of Recruiting, Learning & Business Consulting. He reports to Patrick Hynes, Vice President, Business Development and Head of Field Sales at Prudential.

Under Flynn’s leadership, Prudential Advisors is positioning itself for future recruiting success, with its client lead and referral program as one of the key elements of its recruiting value proposition.

Leads and Referrals

Tapping the available resources

The Prudential Advisors client lead and referral program taps into Prudential Financial’s resources as one of the largest global financial services companies in the world, bringing together highly qualified client leads across multiple platforms with financial advisors. 

In 2021 alone, Prudential aligned 1.2 million potential client leads and referrals with financial professionals from a combination of sources.  

The DIYers need financial advice too!

These resources include Prudential’s online presence, which generates hundreds of millions of visits each year, often from do-it-yourself investors who are seeking insurance, annuity and other investment solutions offered by Prudential, and who aren’t currently working with a financial advisor.

As another example, Prudential’s financial wellness program provides financial education in the workplace for employers across the country – And also serves as opportunity for aligning experienced and credentialed financial advisors with employees who are interested in going beyond financial education, and towards advice and planning. 

Additionally, Prudential generates referrals through workplace offerings when employees go through major life changes that affect their financial needs, thereby opening opportunities for financial advisors to offer their services.

We caught up with Flynn to learn more about Prudential’s leads and referrals generation for financial advisors, and how this has become a powerful financial advisor recruiting advantage.

WSR: Why are insurance solutions frequently a natural jumping-off point for people seeking to align with a full-service financial advisor? 

Flynn: Clients find us for different reasons. Some need financial planning and others want wealth protection. I remember hearing author Nick Murray at a conference, saying those advisors with protection planning capabilities were best positioned to win the market for holistic advice.  

His point was that conversations around protection are more personal and emotional than the ones around managing assets. I believe the advisor of the future is one who can empathize, educate and align specialists around client goals. 

WSR: What role does the Prudential brand play in generating effective leads, and does the brand impact advisors seeking to rebuild a dormant relationship with a client?

Flynn: The rock is an iconic symbol of Prudential that has stood for trust and strength for nearly 150 years. We absolutely have customers who come to our website or call our local firms because of our brand. And many put their trust in us because of that history.

The brand is also a critical component to becoming relevant to new generations, which is why the company continues to invest in it. Utilizing our current foundation, we’re set to position ourselves with new audiences and expand access to a broad range of holistic financial solutions. In fact, Prudential’s new television commercial puts advice and advisors as the center of the ad. 

Local outreach

But when you talk about a brand, it is so much more than that logo and advertising, it’s about delivering great experiences for clients and helping them where they want to be helped. And we’re working on many levels to support that experience.

Through local offices and community outreach programs, we help financial professionals create a sustainable pool with dormant clients and new prospects.

The brand, the leads and the way we’re investing in the advisor and customer experiences – that’s how we are working to make it even better in the future. That’s why we’re so excited.

WSR: There has been an industry shift toward greater use of data science. What role does data play in understanding a potential client’s wealth and/or propensity?  

Generating leads through data science

Flynn: Prudential has significantly invested in our data science capabilities over the past few years, and it has helped in several ways. First, we can use all the information that we know about a potential client to determine their interest in working with an advisor. 

We also can gather all the information – and in some cases augment it – to make it as easy as possible for the advisor to contact the client, and to the extent possible, understand a bit about their financial picture. 

Secondly, together with our leads management function, we send the leads to the advisors who want them and where they fit the advisors’ business model. In other words, we want to send the right leads to the right advisor. Data science is important to the entire process.  

WSR: How does PruPassages help customers connect with financial professionals in times of major life events that lead to loss of insurance coverage?  

Flynn: Being part of Prudential, we’re able to leverage the company’s relationship with thousands of large Group Insurance employers to offer transition services for their employees who have experienced a job event – such as a retirement or job change. We bring similar modeling to this leads program, one of 20 that we offer. 

Employee transitions open doors

We direct a segment of these leads to advisors, and use digital communications to outreach to others, while still offering the Group Insurance employees the opportunity to speak to an advisor should they want to. The employees’ transition is a natural door opener, and it is an opportunity for advisors to help them with a variety of financial needs at a point of time when these individuals are managing changes in their lives. 

We’ve seen tremendous success and feedback with this program, for our financial professionals and the individuals that they’ve helped.

WSR: What types of teaming opportunities are available for independent advisors who join Prudential?  

Flynn: Our fundamental belief is that advisors should be able to build their practice in a way that aligns with their vision and enables them to best serve their clients. Given that, we have teams of all shapes and sizes, which presents a tremendous opportunity for advisors joining us.  

We believe in providing clients holistic advice and solutions. Those advisors and teams focused on holistic planning have seen tremendous growth which is driving demand for experts who can partner with solos or join teams. 

Diverse teams

Additionally, there is significant momentum around diversity within our teams with 54% of our teams including a female advisor or person of color on the team. One other key opportunity to highlight is around succession planning. Given our national footprint and scale in the organization, we have numerous opportunities to support advisors interesting in buying and selling their practices.  

James Miller, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at

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