Successful financial advisors focus on making exceptional hiring decisions and staying ahead of the competition on technology, according to the fifth annual “Advisor Authority” study commissioned by Nationwide Advisory Solutions.

The study, “Successful Advisors: The Year Over Year Trends,” shows that successful advisors put adding staff and technology above attracting new clients. The study included a survey of nearly 1,021 advisors and 824 investors. It defines successful advisors as those who earn a personal annual income of $500,000 or more from their advisory business, or individually manage a total AUM of $250 million or more.

Although most of the general population of advisors put acquiring new clients as their top priority, “successful advisors stay a step ahead of all other advisors and diversify their plans for profitability by putting more importance on adding new hires (22% of successful advisors compared to 11% of all advisors) and consolidating technology (21% compared to 15%).”

“Year-over-year data shows that successful advisors have consistently relied less on adding new clients than all other advisors (37% of successful advisors compared to 46% of all advisors),” the report said. Successful advisors integrate artificial intelligence, interactive websites, client portals, mobile apps, tax optimization tools and account aggregation systems into their practices.

Successful advisors also put their clients first, which starts with adhering to a stated fiduciary standard, Nationwide said. Eighty-two percent of successful advisors feel there should be a single federal fiduciary standard for the financial industry, compared with 74% of all advisors.

Nationwide Advisory Solutions works with RIAs and independent advisors to help build their practices.