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Clients Prefer Comprehensive Advisors Over Specialists: Survey

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CFP Board logoA majority of Americans prefer to work with an advisor who considers their entire financial picture, with more than two-thirds seeking comprehensive financial planning services, and certifications play a significant role when choosing an advisor, according to a survey just released by the CFP Board.

Conducted between Aug. 8 and 11 by ORC International, the online survey polled 1,012 adults — 504 men and 508 women — and found that 91% of those surveyed said they wanted their financial advisor to take into account their total financial situation, while 70% said they would prefer to work with an advisor who provides comprehensive financial planning services. Thirty percent said they’d prefer to work with someone who specializes in one area such as retirement.

A window of opportunity also exists for advisors, as 41% of respondents said that they had never worked with an advisor.

Certifications are also important to Americans when choosing a financial advisor, with 84% of those surveyed saying an advisor’s credentials matter.

“As Americans’ finances become more and more complex, they are turning to advisors who can partner with them, look at their total financial picture, put all the pieces together and provide a comprehensive financial plan,” said CFP Board CEO Kevin Keller, in a statement.

Eighty-seven percent of those polled said they’d prefer to work with someone who has a financial planning certification, while 68% said working with someone who has a certification or designation that “demonstrate(s) knowledge of multiple financial areas” such as investments, taxes, insurance and budgeting would be ideal.

“As this survey shows, Americans want advisors who are competent in financial planning and have a designation to prove it,” added Keller.

Nearly half (48%) of survey respondents also said that “strong knowledge of financial planning” was most important to them in choosing a financial advisor, with 64% of those between the ages of 18 and 24 saying it was most important. Trailing a distant second in terms of importance is ethics (20%), followed by years in business/experience (17%). Ranking last was the ability to offer a variety of financial products (11%).

Check out CFP’s Goldfarb Case Illustrates Need for Clear Compliance Lines on ThinkAdvisor.