If you’re a personal finance professional that manages wealth and gives advice, you should take note of the findings of a recent long-term study that analyzed in detail what it is that clients want from their advisors.
The study, which was carried out by the independent firm Advisor PACT, was designed to find out exactly what it is that clients seek in their financial advisors. Specifically, the Advisor PACT study focused on a control group of affluent clients. Launched in 2002, the study was initially determined to identify and evaluate a comprehensive list of specific criteria which created an “ideal” personal financial state.
As the study progressed, the Advisor PACT researchers posed a simple but poignant question: what exactly is it that a client wants from a financial advisor? Which offered services have the most value to individuals in the targeted income bracket?
The researchers followed hundreds of clients, each with their own unique needs and preferences. Even among this diverse group, one consistent truth began to emerge: affluent clients want more than just advice. They want a financial advisor that provides protection for their assets and their interests.
“Financial protection” is a term that means different things to different people. For some, it means preventing fraud or reducing investment risk. To others, it means intelligent and conservative responses to changing or volatile markets. Regardless of the way in which clients defined “financial protection,” it was clear that the vast majority of those participating in the study felt it was not possible to hire an advisor or a firm which would provide them with the protection they need.
It was also clear that bigger didn’t necessarily mean better when it came to the size of the firm; only a small percentage of respondents felt larger, more established firms provided better protection of their assets and interests. Clients with multiple advisors also indicated with near-unanimity that they did not have a single advisor on their team who fully embraced the role of “financial protector.”
Some clients felt that the very nature of a financial advisor’s job makes it impossible for that person to also act as a protector. Others stated that it was more a question of willingness than ability, and that the vast majority of financial advisors simply aren’t interested in protecting their clients’ assets; they’re only interested in collecting commissions for a job well done.
If you’re a new or established financial advisor, these insights can be invaluable as you look to broaden your range of services. Advisor PACT’s study shows that there is a very strong appetite among clients for finance professionals who offer protection. It also shows there is a dearth of such advisors available to meet that demand.
Is it possible to reconfigure your approach to gain the confidence of clients seeking protection for their assets and interests? With a few simple but effective adjustments, it is.
The first step is to change your mindset; instead of putting your primary focus on your own bottom line, put it on that of your clients. Shield their money, reduce their risk, and take proactive steps to safeguard their wealth in good times and in bad. Chances are you’ll see a big spike in your own organic growth, particularly if you service clients on the affluent end of the economic spectrum.