Younger plan participants are more patient about response time from advisors.
Communication is a significant factor in advisor satisfaction for defined contribution plan participants, who like frequent and quick communication from their financial advisor.
The Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner report Advisor Usage Among DC Plan Participants shows the many and varied opinions plan participants have about communicating with the financial professional they have hired to help them with their assets.
For instance, the No. 1 reason a 401(k) participant would fire an advisor is for not returning phone calls in a timely manner. Sixty-one percent of the plan participants involved in the study said that would cause them to look elsewhere, and was the most popular choice.
Fifty percent said a similar factor - “not being proactive in contacting me” - would be a reason to fire an advisor. Forty-two percent said “not returning emails in a timely manner” would be a reason to fire an advisor.
The older the plan participant, the more a timely response matters. Eighty percent of plan participants 65 and over said they would fire an advisor for not returning phone calls in a timely manner (the average was 58 percent) and 77 percent of that age group said “not being proactive in contacting me” was a reason to let an advisor go (the total percentage was 38).
There is a wide variance in the definition of “timely manner” when it comes to phone calls, although younger plan participants seem to be more patient waiting for return contact than older ones. Fifty percent of plan participants 35 and younger said that “next day’’ phone contact would be fine, and 16 percent said “next two days” would be OK with them. For comparison, only 32 percent of 401(k) contributors 65 and over said “the next day” was acceptable, and only 4 percent said “the next two days’’ would be fine.
Twenty-three percent of those 65 and older wanted a return phone call within the hour, and 55 percent answered between one and five hours as an acceptable time frame.
Females were more patient about a return phone call. Fifteen percent said they could wait six to 12 hours (only 4 percent of men had that kind of patience) and 43 percent of women said “next day’’ was acceptable, to only 39 percent of men.
Email time tables were slightly different. Thirty-nine percent of plan participants 65 and older want email responses within one or two hours. A majority in all age groups expect a return email the same day as the email request was sent.
Thirty-eight percent of participants have quarterly contact with their advisor, and only 17 percent have more frequent scheduled contact. Thirteen percent report annual contact with an advisor and 12 percent said they never have a scheduled appointment to speak to their advisor.
Most plan participants prefer to deal with one person when it comes to getting financial advice, as opposed to working with a team.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.