Although fees are an important part of the conversation between financial advisor and client, a holistic menu of services and a focus on financial planning are stronger indicators of value for top advisors, according to a study released Wednesday by Carson Coaching, a financial advisor coaching and resource program.
The study found that clients who believe their financial advisors provide more services and lead with planning are consistently more confident about their own retirement, and are likelier to be highly satisfied with their advisor and to believe they receive adequate value for the fee they pay.
However, many advisors in the study were not exhibiting the levels of planning and transparency that clients said provided value for cost.
“With a notable uptick in individuals reaching out to financial advisors for the first time in their lives due to the coronavirus and market upheaval, there’s no better time for advisors to reexamine and adjust their value proposition and how they engage with clients,” Jamie Hopkins, managing director of Carson Coaching, said in a statement.
Hopkins said some of the study’s data challenged what he viewed as industry best practices. For example, value was strongly correlated with the number of interactions between an advisor and a client.
Hopkins noted that many of these interactions have had to shift to phone and videoconferencing because of social distancing efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19, indicating that in times of uncertainty human connection is critically important.
“The traditional once or twice a year reach out is simply not enough for most clients,” he said.
Carson Group conducted and analyzed surveys in December among 129 advisors and more than 1,000 investors with at least $100,000 in investable assets.