For the most successful financial advisors, it’s all about the client, according to a new nationwide online survey.
Nearly all of the advisors surveyed (97 percent) ranked client satisfaction as the most important criteria for measuring business success. Less than half (41.5 percent) ranked assets under management as the second most important factor.
Two-thirds of surveyed financial advisors said that client retention is their firm’s highest priority, while 61 percent said client service. Ranked third and fourth were growing assets under management (59 percent) and client acquisition (36 percent), respectively.
The survey, conducted by ByAllAccounts, polled more than 390 financial advisors. One-third of the respondents were independent RIAS or wealth managers, while 20 percent were broker-dealers. Roughly six of the firms represented had more than $100 million in assets under management.
When asked what characteristics they would wish their clients or peers use to describe their firm, 64 percent said “trustworthy,” while 58 percent said “honest.” Fifty-five percent said “best in class,” while one-third said “dedicated.”
In ranking their personal skills, 97 percent said they excelled at understanding the needs of their clients, while 95 percent said investment philosophy. Ninety-two percent gave themselves a pat on the back for their financial knowledge, while 82.5 percent said their analytical skills were their top strength.
A significant majority of respondents also put a high premium on personal service. Eighty-one percent said that they spend the most time each month on client management, communication and service, while just over half (52 percent) spend it on investment management and research. They spend the least amount of time with back-office operations processes.
On the personal side, 61 percent visit the Wall Street Journal website at least once a week, while 53 percent log on to LinkedIn. One-quarter said they are most likely have an iPad on their nightstand, followed by a novel (18 percent). Twenty-one percent said that the Beatles would most likely be playing on their iPod or CD player.
Another trait of the successful financial advisor is projecting an elite image. Forty-one percent compared their firm metaphorically to a Mercedes SUV, while 24.5 percent compared it to a Lincoln Towncar. Only 2 percent compared their fir, to a Chevy Pickup.
Honesty and trustworthiness and transparency are the criteria most important to nearly all of Millionaire investors, according to a recent Millionaire Corner survey of Millionaire households with a net worth between $1 million and $4.9 million (not including primary residence). More than nine-in-ten respondents said these factors were the most important in choosing an advisor, along with the advisor’s track record.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.