Millionaires have trusted advisors, but only trust them with part of their assets. Why?
Millionaires tend to have long-standing relationships with trusted advisors, but it appears that trust only goes so far.
By and large Millionaires say they are satisfied with their advisors, but they turn over a relatively small percentage of their assets to an advisor’s complete control, according to the latest Millionaire Corner study on the attitudes and behaviors of Millionaire investors. Millionaires are defined as having a net worth of $1 million to $5 million, not including primary residence.
“Most Millionaires value the input of a professional advisor, but they also tend to be take-charge individuals with a strong sense of self,” said Catherine McBreen, president of Millionaire Corner. “Many like to establish an advisory relationship that allows them to stay involved in the day-to-day management of their investments.”
On average Millionaires completely control 46 percent of their assets and consult a professional regarding another 38 percent. They say they entrust an advisor with the remaining 16 percent, allowing the financial professional to handle the assets “with no input from me.” Even investors who described themselves as “advisor dependent” – that is relying on an investment professional to make most or all investment decisions - retain direct control over 42 percent of their assets. About one-fourth (22 percent) of Millionaires say they keep a portion of their investments with an advisor specifically to compare the advisor’s results with their own investing.
The reluctance to turn over more assets to a trusted advisor may stem from Millionaires’ perceptions of fees charged by financial professionals. Nearly half (49 percent) say they find the services of a professional advisor to be very expensive and 22 percent say they can do a better job of investing than a professional advisor. Doctors, lawyers and other professionals are particularly sensitive to advisor fees. Nearly three-fourths (72 percent) find the services to be very expensive, and 29 percent say they can do a better job of investing than a professional.
Millionaire investors also prefer to pay a fixed fee for services provided, as opposed to paying a fee based on a flat percentage of assets under management, or having the cost of the advice built into the product’s sales commission.
The current economic environment appears to be prompting advisors to give cautious advice to their Millionaire clients who, for the most part, are nearing or in retirement. Millionaires are most likely to be advised to develop a more conservative portfolio and to “hold investments in something safe until things get better.” Advisors are also most likely to recommend tax-free investments, bonds and stocks. Only 5 percent of Millionaires report a trusted advisor counseling them to invest more aggressively.