Half of Advisors Want to Cut Clients: Russell Survey

Nearly half of advisors are switching clients to fee-based accounts

The September 9 release of Russell Investments' Financial Professional Outlook, a quarterly survey of U.S. financial advisors, indicates that advisors would like to slice their client load. Half the respondents to the survey said they would like a smaller client list.

Respondents' average client base clocked in at 392. This is far more than they'd like to manage, citing their ideal base at between 210 and 240 - with the average desired size a svelte 211.

The 43% of advisors who indicated they wanted to grow their client base were operating with lists that averaged only 140 clients; these respondents wanted to bring the list up to an average of 238.

Feeling the pinch of tighter margins, 45% were also switching their clients to fee-based accounts to bring in new revenue, and 16% were spending money on new technology to manage their low-income clients - allowing them to spend more time with clients who generated more income. Another strategy to raise income levels is to sell more annuities (39%), although, according to an article by NU Online News Service among advisors who have not already added them to their product list, resistance is high, beat out only by "global strategies" as least considered as a new possibility to bring in funds. Only 9% of advisors are "not doing anything differently" in the practice management area.

The survey, which was taken between July 27th and August 13th, had 348 responses representing 132 national, regional and independent advisory firms.

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