The recession and chaotic stock market have put financial advisor loyalty to the test, but in the years since the 2008 economic collapse, clients’ allegience to their advisors is on the rise, according to a new Millionaire Corner wealth level study.
Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of Millionaire households with a net worth between $1 million and $5 million said that they would follow their advisor to another firm because they put a higher premium on their relationship than they did the firm for which their advisor worked. Not surprisingly, those who identify themselves as Advisor Dependent are most likely (71 percent) to follow their advisor to a new firm compared with half of those who are Self-Directed and make their own decisions regarding their portfolio.
Last year, 54 percent of Millionaire clients said they would follow their advisors to a new firm, which itself was a 10 percent increase over 2009.
Millionaires prefer to have one primary advisor and tend to have a long-standing relationship with him or her. More than two-thirds (68 percent) said they work with one advisor, and 41 percent have worked with that advisor between three and nine years, our survey found. Older advisors, not surprisingly, have cornered the market on advisor longevity. Seniors 65 and older are the most likely to have been with their advisor for 15 years or more.
Advisor satisfaction is stuck at 2009 levels; respectable, but far from the level enjoyed before the recession. In pre-crisis 2008, for example, 85 percent of Millionaires expressed satisfaction with their advisor. That plummeted to 70 percent in 2009, which is where it stands today, a reflection perhaps of the stock market fluctuations that began in August following the debt ceiling debate and have continued through the U.S. debt downgrade, euro zone crisis, and, most recently, the failure of the “Super Committee” to agree on $1.2 trillion in cuts to the deficit.
While Millionaires were most satisfied about their advisor’s response to their requests (80 percent) and knowledge and expertise (77 percent), they were less pleased with the recommendations and advice received during the recession (63 percent).
Less than 5 percent said they expect to change their advisor in the next year.
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.