95% Of Advisors Say Their Richest Clients Are Perfectly Satisfied, But The Clients Disagree

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 07:05
95% Of Advisors Say Their Richest Clients Are Perfectly Satisfied, But The Clients Disagree

Tags: high net worth | registered investment advisors

Bit of a perception gap here: Almost all advisors think their best clients are happy with the relationship, but the mood among their clients is not quite so rosy.

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We've seen a lot of surveys talking about how about 35% of the investors out there are ready to change advisors. A new poll from the Institute for Private Investors -- which focuses on serving high-net-worth people -- confirms that insight.


But the IPI went a little further by asking the advisors. And found that while 65% of the clients are happy, 95% of the advisors think the clients are happy.


The biggest stumbling blocks seem to be the perception that advisors aren't doing everything they can to help their clients. These investors feel that their advisors don't spend enough time with them, don't take their risk profile into account, and don't explain their fees well enough.


What this sounds like is a call to revisit old documentation with your biggest accounts and maybe even your entire book. Re-explain your fee schedule -- maybe something has changed, or you have a better illustration for how to simplify the numbers. 


Revisit the risk profile and goals conversation. While this is a lot of work, if 35% to 40% of your top clients think you don't understand them, then maybe these questionnaires need to be filled out again to ensure that everyone knows that everyone is at the same table.


And if this is the millionaire clients, imagine how the mass affluent types -- who may not have gotten the VIP treatment at every firm out there -- are feeling about their relationships.

Comments (1)

This is a very interesting finding. I will differ with you about what it implies.

Rather than assuming you understand the gap between what your clients really want and what you deliver, ASK them!

Re-explaining your fee schedule or revisiting the goals conversation might perhaps address your clients' unspoken concerns, but it still leaves you guessing about a lot of what may be on their minds. There's a pretty high probability that if you didn't understand them before the conversation, you still would not at the end of the meeting.

Bringing your best clients together and having a structured conversation about what they want that you may not be providing is the simplest, most direct, and most powerful way to get to the heart of the matter. Julie Littlechild's studies show that this kind of conversation is a strong driver of client engagement. This is why I believe the client advisory board to be the most powerful tool an advisor can use to drive loyalty and referrals. And it leaves little to chance that you will remain in the dark about what your clients really want.
stephenw585 , May 10, 2011

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