About Stephen Wershing

I’m Steve Wershing and I’m on a mission to help you attract more referrals.

If you don’t attract as many referrals as you would like, it’s not your fault. Most of what you have been told about referrals is wrong. And I want to help change that.

I am President of the Client Driven Practice, LLC, and we coach financial advisors on how to create referral marketing plans that work. For 14 years I was a broker dealer executive, as Chief Operating Officer of a national independent firm, then President of a regional one. After leaving those positions, I wanted to focus on what was always the best part of those jobs: helping advisors build their businesses.  And, after doing some research, the best way to do that came down to one thing – attracting more referrals.

What I was surprised to find was that research done over the past few years has taught us why referrals happen and how we can attract them reliably and consistently.  And that very few advisors had learned about these principles. Even more important, that asking is a lousy way to try to get them. I am hoping to change that.

I am the author of Stop Asking for Referrals! (McGraw Hill). I offer tips on practice management and marketing on my blog, and post at least one article a week.  I also blog at financial-planning.com.



I entered the financial services profession in 1987. From representative at Waddell & Reed, I became District Manager and then Division Manager.  In 1994 I established an independent practice.  By the end of 1996, I was working at the home office of Wall Street Financial Group, eventually rising to Chief Operating Officer.  In 2002 I was hired to develop a small independent firm which eventually became Ensemble Financial Services, which I ran until 2010. One of our proudest moments from those years was receiving a Broker Dealer Excellence Award from Boomer Market Advisor magazine.  You can download the article about that here.

After leaving Ensemble, I started The Client Driven Practice. I coach financial advisors on referral marketing, strategic differentiation, niche marketing, client advisory boards, and other practice management issues.

I write or have been quoted in most of the industry trade magazines, and have appeared in USA Today. You can see some of my articles and interviews here.


I live with my wife Gaelen McCormick and our daughter Clara outside Rochester, NY. I have two older kids in college. I enjoy cooking, woodworking, and dancing west coast swing.


You can contact me by email or through our contact form, follow me on Twitter or connect with me on LinkedIn.

For a downloadable version of Steve's resume, click here.


We work in a highly regulated industry, so before you implement any of the recommendations on this site, check with your compliance department or compliance officer to make sure the way you plan on implementing an idea conforms with applicable regulations and your own compliance policies.

caret-down caret-up caret-left caret-right
Steve Gonick, Principal/Executive Vice President-Chief Marketing Officer Adirondack Small Cap Fund
I arranged for Steve Wershing to speak at the Annual Symposium of the Financial Planning Association of Northeastern New York. He was part of a panel discussion on social media, and delivered a talk on client advisory boards. Both programs were very well received. Steve projected his expertise in an engaging way. The presentation he used with his advisory boards session was outstanding, and he is a skilled speaker. His points are innovative and timely. Our members commented that they got some great ideas from both presentations that will be valuable to their practices. I recommend him for anyone planning a conference for financial professionals.”  

Dawn Palazzo , Executive Vice President AM&M Financial Services, Inc.
“Over the years, I've worked with Steve in several capacities: business partner, colleague, and service provider. I have found him to be a dynamic collaborator: innovative and results oriented. His perspective on leadership and business management has provided me and our other advisors a functional road map for growth, and ultimately success. His directness and honesty only enhance his value. If you have the opportunity to work with Steve - I'd recommend it!”

Peter Park , President and Senior Planner LifeQuest Financial, LLC
"I have had the opportunity to work directly with Steve both when deciding on a firm to join and ongoing thereafter to evaluate technology tools and resources. I find Steve to be an effective manager and a very fair supervisor. He has developed a terrific team at Ensemble which is indicative of his strong leadership. I strongly recommend Steve as a professional and Ensemble as a firm.”

Mark Colgan , President Colgan Capital, LLC
"What speaks loudly is Steve’s sincere passion for the business and his attentive interest in looking for ways to help me move forward. I also like the fact that he is direct and is not afraid to tell me what I need to know...rather than I what I want to know. Say goodbye bureaucracy and self-righteousness and welcome independence with sincere and superior support.”

George Klemann Investment Advisor rep
“I first worked with Stephen Wershing as an Investment Advisor Representative at Wall Street Financial Group, Inc and not long after he left WSFG to head up Ensemble Financial Services, Inc., I also left WSFG to join Ensemble, as things were just not the same without him. Stephen is a knowledgeable and capable leader who always finds time to help his colleagues with the development of their practice. In the 3 years I have been with Ensemble there have been continuing improvements to the business model, continued expansion of services offered to its rep network, along with expansion of products and services offered to clients. The impressive growth of the Ensemble even through these tough times in the market is testimony to the tenacity, hard work, team orientation and leadership skills of Stephen."