SEI compares advisory firms’ client service to exercise: Advisors know they need to do better, but it’s easy to get off track. Although 96% of respondents said a firm’s level of client service was a differentiator, just 9% say it is integral to a firm’s mission.
SEI surveyed senior managers at investment management firms, institutional consultants and institutional investor organizations for the white paper, “Client Service: What It Takes to Walk the Talk,” to determine what advisors are currently doing about client service and where they can improve.
Almost two-thirds of investment consultants and 63% of investors said they were unhappy with client service levels, the paper found.
The big problem, according to SEI, is that firms don’t know what clients want regarding service. More than 80% of investors said advisory firms didn’t understand what investors want and 63% said they didn’t understand their needs. However, only 23% of managers agreed that advisor firms don’t fully understand client needs.
There wass little consensus between respondents about the function of client service. Among investors, giving the clients a voice was the most important function, followed by responding to clients. Managers named being responsive as the most important function, followed by relationship building. Interestingly, consultants placed a much higher value on providing transparency (20%) than either investors (6%) or managers (5%).
Another interesting divergence is in respondents’ view of cross-selling. Forty-three percent of managers and 45% of consultants said the “primary thrust” of client services is cross-selling, compared with 31% of investors.