Communication breakdowns can ruin the relationship between advisors and their clients. What are investors looking for?
Communication breakdowns – not investment performance - remain the primary reason wealthy investors would switch financial advisors, according to Millionaire Corner’s latest survey of the attitudes and behaviors of Millionaire investors.
More than 60 percent of the investors surveyed in October say the primary reason they would leave an advisor is “not returning phone calls in a timely manner.” More than half (55 percent) expect a return phone call within three to five hours. Less than 30 percent of the Millionaires, who have a net worth of $1 million to $5 million not including their home, feel it’s acceptable for an advisor to return a phone call the next day.
Millionaires also expect advisors to promptly return emails. Failure to do so would cause 45 percent of Millionaires to change advisors. More than 60 percent expect a return email within 12 hours. Doctors and lawyers are among the occupations with the highest expectations for prompt return phone calls and emails.
More than half the investors say they would switch advisors if their advisor failed to provide them with good ideas and advice, and 52 percent said they would leave an advisor for “not being proactive in contacting me. Continuing an established trend, wealth investors put a higher premium on communication than they do on long-term and short-term investment losses and rank personal qualities, such as honesty and trustworthiness, as the most important criteria for choosing an advisor.
“Our research shows that wealthy investors put great stock in the personal relationship they have with their financial advisors,” said Catherine McBreen. “Investors need to trust their advisors, but they also need to feel they are being treated with courtesy and respect.”.
Most Millionaires are satisfied with their advisors and 87 percent plan to continue working with their advisor to the same degree as in the past. More than two-thirds (67 percent) have recommended their advisor to someone they knew, and personal referrals emerge as the primary way investors find their advisors. More than 60 percent of Millionaires would follow their advisors if they moved to another firm.
Honesty and trustworthiness are the qualities nearly all Millionaires (98 percent)
seek in an advisor, but being responsive is the second most prized quality. Ninety-five percent of Millionaires said expect their advisor to “respond promptly to my inquiries and questions.”
More than half the investors (52 percent) who have a written financial plan review the plans twice a year with their advisors, while about one-third (34 percent) review the plans annually. More than 60 percent say have been advised to diversify their assets, about 60 percent have been advised in selecting individual stocks and bonds, and more than half (51 percent) have received advice on planning for retirement. Half have received advice on tax strategies, but are far less likely to have received communication from an advisor regarding estate planning, charitable giving or insurance products.