Fidelity Investments has launched a program for registered investment advisers to help maximize their referral flow.

The firm said that over half of RIAs' business comes from referrals, on average, but only 20% of advisers ask clients and centers of influence for introductions.

The program essentially adds up to a how-to guide to generate referrals, and includes workshops and a guidebook featuring case studies of other RIAs, bolstered by one-on-one training by Fidelity wholesalers. The program was announced last week.

The training revolves around advice about building a solid centers-of-influence network; not being spread so thin to not have time to build deep relationships with clients; crafting a compelling story about their financial-planning approach; and keeping consistent with any marketing efforts.

"Referrals are one of the best ways to grow an adviser's business," said John Eidson, a spokesman for Fidelity. "It's something advisers consistently have to stay on top of."

Eidson said response to the program has been positive, and 300 advisers have already gone through it as part of an early rollout in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Seattle. Fidelity has 3,000 independent advisers on its books.

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