How Many Clients to Serve Per Financial Advisor

Douglas Greenberg
3 min readMar 25


When it comes to building a successful financial planning business, there are many questions advisors need to answer. One of the most important is how many clients they need to make a profit and grow their business.

The number of clients an advisor needs to have varies greatly depending on their experience level and expertise. It can be anywhere from a few dozen to thousands of clients.

It’s no secret that the financial planning industry is a high-stakes game of client loyalty, retention, and referrals. To compete in this business model, you need to snag and wrangle clients with the most compelling case and turn them into lifelong clients who keep coming back for more. The best way to do that is with a clear definition of what you want your clients to get out of the relationship, then develop a plan to help them accomplish it.

Determining how many clients you’ll need to achieve this goal is the biggest challenge. A good rule of thumb is to have enough clientele to keep you busy for the foreseeable future but not so much that you’re overworked and burned out.

The secret to determining the right number is reverse engineering. The key is to find out your ideal client demographic and then craft a marketing strategy that speaks directly to them. The most effective tactics include the following:

  • Optimizing your website.
  • Implementing an email marketing system.
  • Leveraging paid advertising and social media to connect with prospective clients.

Financial advisors need to have enough clients to generate the revenue they need. Generally speaking, the higher your client count is, the more you can afford to pay your team and the less time you need to spend on your own marketing and other business development efforts.

The number of clients you need depends on your financial planning goals. Some advisors may work with high-net-worth individuals, while others prefer to work with small businesses or families.

For most financial advisors, the ideal number of clients is between 100 and 150. This number reflects the capacity of human beings to maintain personal relationships, according to a 1992 study conducted by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar.

This limit allows an adviser to focus on a narrow range of clients, design a service model to serve them, and build a platform to reach and market them. This allows them to create a financial advisory business that serves their target niche’s needs, ultimately earning them a healthy living.

The question of how many clients to serve per financial advisor is no doubt on almost everyone’s mind, but it’s a good idea to take the time to figure out what kind of clientele you want to serve and how much you’ll be charging them. This is a key determinant of your success or failure and will impact how many clients you need to sign on the dotted line. Fortunately, several strategies exist to tame the herd and nudge you toward the goalposts. The first is to understand your customer base, the second is to develop a plan to attract new customers, and the third is to ensure your existing ones are happy. You can do this by providing a solid customer experience and delivering the services they’ve come to expect from you. The most effective way to do this is by implementing a client service plan that details how you will provide them with value in return.

If you want to make a decent living and build a successful practice, knowing how many clients you need to maintain is important. The right number of clients depends on your firm’s size and the client types you serve. For example, an advisory with several junior advisers and assistants can manage a larger client base than just one senior adviser and one person doing most of the administrative work.

As a rough guideline, a financial planner who targets 100 clients, works 12 hours with each and charges $150/hour (in some combination of hourly, annual retainer fees and implementation commissions) can expect to make $180,000 in revenue and have a net take-home pay of up to $150,000. That may be enough for a small lifestyle firm to make ends meet. The key is to choose a niche clientele you can service and provide value to without worrying about overserving the masses.



Douglas Greenberg

Douglas Greenberg has a history of taking initiative. At the age of 19, he launched his own company, and he hasn't looked back since.