Advisors want both independence and traditional support, study shows

Advisors say they prefer a combination of independent broker/dealer traditional career. A survey of more than 1,000 financial representatives conducted for John Hancock Financial Network (JHFN) and developed by Mathew Greenwald & Associates examined financial professionals' attitudes about resources offered through affiliations with business partners such as insurance companies, wirehouses, banks and independent broker dealers.

What do top financial advisors want? Seven in ten financial representatives prefer to work for a nationally recognized company over an independent firm. Furthermore, a majority also preferred health and retirement benefits usually associated with a career system. Nearly seventy percent of respondents expressed a preference for access to a subsidized health care platform compared to increased incentives.

Even still, financial reps show a preference for offerings associated with an independent broker/dealer. Nine out of ten respondents prefer to sell from an open product platform than a proprietary platform. They also overwhelmingly prefer to be recognized for their total sales regardless of product mix, 80 percent vs. 19 percent for product-line sales. In terms of training support, two-thirds prefer to receive their training locally from experts in the field rather than from a home office.

"Extremely important" attributes for advisors include:

  • Open product platform (75 percent)
  • Operational and customer service support (68 percent)
  • Equity/ownership in business (63 percent)
  • Automated business process (53 percent)
  • Affiliation with a nationally recognized company (43 percent)

"The current environment - with a huge base of boomer clients seeking advice to deal with a range of financial needs including investing for the future, income planning for the retirement as well as the transfer of wealth - - is creating one of the largest opportunities ever for financial reps," says Peter Gordon, president, JHFN. "The financial companies that reps want to work with will thrive, which is why we're paying close attention to their preferences. We are working to implement a business proposition that is attractive to entrepreneurial financial professionals looking for the power to effectively build unique businesses, based on their own vision and market opportunity."

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