Full-service brokers are regaining favor among affluent investors, according to the Spectrem Affluent Study 2005. But even as the research showed that more affluent investors are using full-service brokers as their “primary advisor,” the study found that the affluent are more satisfied overall with their financial planners, investment advisors, and investment managers than with their brokers.
While the percentage of affluent investors who use full-service brokers as their primary advisor–31% in 2005–has been climbing back from a low point in 2004 of 24%, it’s not yet back to the 2002 level of 45%. So why the decline in the first place? The results over the years show that “affluent investors are influenced somewhat by how the market is performing,” says Spectrem Group’s president, George Walper. After a few tough years, with the market now trending upward “they’re a little more comfortable using brokers as advisors.” In Spectrem’s research about ultra-high-net-worth investors–those with investable assets of $5 million and above–”we see that that industry as a whole has made some significant enhancements to their product offerings; far more of them are advice-based as opposed to strictly talking about product. They haven’t fully recovered, but they clearly have reversed the trend.”