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Survey Finds Investors Trust Financial Advisor More than Primary Doctor or Accountant

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A new survey finds that investors trust their financial advisors more than their primary doctor or accountant.

John Hancock Financial, a Boston-based unit of Manulife Financial Corp., published this finding in a new John Hancock Trust Survey. The online survey polled 1,005 mass affluent investors (with household income of at least $100,000 and investable assets of at least $200,000) in mid-April 2012. The survey was conducted by independent research firm Mathew Greenwald & Associates.

The survey shows that, out of a list including financial advisor, primary doctor, accountant, contractor/handyman, boss, and real estate agent, investors say they “trust strongly” their advisor (84%), followed by primary doctor (79%) and accountant (74%). Contractors have a 52% “trust strongly” ranking, with bosses coming in at 49% and real estate agents at 43%.

When asked about the most important factors inspiring trust in financial advisors, respondents say clear explanations of investment recommendations and being knowledgeable and timely about products and trends were the most important (both 54%), followed by disclosure on how the advisor is compensated (51%) and quickly answering questions (49%). 

Less important, investors say, are factors such as an advisor who is recommended by friends or family (21%), who offers user-friendly tools and calculators (16%), who has an informative website (11%), and who is involved in the local community (5%). 

Being difficult to contact or unresponsive is the reason most often cited for lack of trust in a financial advisor (25%). Bad investment advice (13%) and lacking a personalized approach (12%) are also cited as major factors in investors losing trust in an advisor. 

“The results show that the bond of trust between investors and financial advisors is as strong, or stronger, than with most other professionals in an individual’s life,” says David Longfritz, chief marketing officer for John Hancock. “That is quite a statement given the difficult economic times we have all been through.”


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