“The Five Attributes of Highly Successful Financial Advisors”, the latest executive summary of MainStay Investments 2006 Across Generations survey, found that an advisor’s ability to provide meaningful advice, build trust, and attend to personal needs are considered “top advisor must-haves” by over 85 percent of investors who use a financial advisor.
“Investors are deciding whether they will work with a particular advisor based on factors such as trust and personal attention; quantitative metrics and product offerings are irrelevant if these ‘softer’ attributes are not there,” notes Christopher Blunt, president of MainStay Investments. “Our results suggest that advisors need to rely on interpersonal and counseling skills to forge deeper relationships with their existing clients and cultivate new ones with potential clients.”
This appears to be particularly true when it comes to boomer clients. “Baby boomer investors, who are grappling with uncertainties about their retirement today, are particularly sensitive to advisors’ relational skills. They want to work with advisors who demonstrate concern for more than just the current performance of the investment portfolios; 73 percent say they want someone who will counsel them on preparing for retirement and 60 percent say they seek advice on generating income in retirement.”
Top Five Attributes
The top five attributes of financial advisors, as reported by 1,078 respondents indicating that they already have an advisor or are considering working with one, are:
Tailor Your Advice: When it comes to investing, clients want advisors to weigh in with knowledgeable advice and expertise, and to refrain from taking a one-size-fits-all approach (88 percent).
Be Trustworthy: Today’s investors want their advisors to convey a feeling of trust from the onset and work to build that trust throughout the relationship (85 percent).
Address Personal Needs: Investors want advisors to ask about their concerns – i.e., caring for aging parents, paying for college, saving for retirement – and to address them (85 percent).
Control Expectations: Investors expect to achieve above average returns (82 percent).
Communicate Frequently: Investors want advisors to maintain consistent and ongoing communication, be responsive to their concerns, and demonstrate a thoughtful and genuine interest in their well being (80 percent).
The study found that 52 percent of investors are looking for more than investment planning advice from their financial advisors, such as college savings or retirement planning. These findings explain investors’ interest in working with advisors with whom they feel at ease and who take a longer-term, relationship building approach to their business.
Role of Credentials