Financial advisors have feelings, too.
Investment News surveyed advisors with whom it works and found the top complaints they have about their job, as well as the aspects of their job that they love the most.
Let’s look at the “Hate’’ side first.
It turns out that advisors hate things about their clients. Advisors believe clients have undue expectations of their advisors.
“(I hate) some clients who secretly believe that I and my colleagues can time the markets and/or pick the next Apple or Google, despite everything we say to the contrary,’’ said advisor Marjorie Fox.
Advisors also hate clients who aren’t truthful about their assets and investing history, then complain to the advisor about their financial situation.
What’s worse, however, is when investors have been honest, and advisors have to honestly say to them that their expectations for the future need to be lowered.
“When I have to have an honest conversation with clients about the type of retirement they can afford and how it might not match the one they’ve dreamt about during their working days,’’ said Emily Sanders of United Capital.
“Having to say ‘no’ to clients who don’t have enough assets to manage, knowing they don’t have a lot of structural resources to help them,’’ said Treebeard Financial Planning advisor Marlena Sonn.
Delivering bad news is especially bad when an advisor can do nothing to change the situation. One advisor remarked that when a new client has been served improperly by a previous advisor, the new advisor cannot magically reverse the previous advisor’s decisions.
Advisors dislike the increase in online resources clients use and then “take as gospel” when advisors have to reel them into a more realistic scenario regarding investments.
Advisors complain, too, about the issues related to compliance and technology that makes it hard to compete or pay attention to matters more directly related to a client’s bottom line.
But one of the most human responses is that advisors simply hate the way they are perceived.
“I hate fighting the perception that financial advisors are schmucks,’’ said Carolyn McClanahan of Life Planning Partners. “I look forward to the day everyone has to be a true fiduciary.”
According to Spectrem’s wealth segmentation quarterly report “Advisor Relationships and Changing Advice Requirements," 42 percent of Ultra High Net Worth investors with a net worth between $5 million and $25 million believe financial advisors are more concerned with selling products than helping their clients. Forty-seven percent rate their advisor on whether or not the advisor outperforms the market.
However, only 32 percent report the willingness to change their advisor if the advisor under-performs when compared to the overall stock market.
It can be assumed advisors love it when a plan comes together. They would all prefer having happy clients than unhappy ones.
Often, happy clients become more than just clients.
“I absolutely love that I am able to be part financial advisor and part therapist,’’ said Ted Jenkin of Oxygen Financial. “The biggest compliment you can ever get from a client is (them) asking you for life or personal advice.”
“Most of all, I love the personal relationships I have developed with so many clients where the bulk of our conversations are nonfinancial,’’ said Paul Schatz of Heritage Capital. “They have become members of my extended family.”
There is also the benefit of sometimes giving clients the kind of good news they usually only get when they get a clean bill of health from their doctor.
“There is always some sort of worry attached to money; hopefully, clients leave my office feeling that burden lifted to some degree,’’ said Allen Kozel of Stewardship Wealth.
Some advisors reported loving the opportunity to succeed personally when they put in the right amount of work, and others said they enjoyed the (relatively) free market in which they work in the United States.
But one advisor put it best when discussing the thrill that is attached to working as a financial advisor.
“I love challenges, and financial planning provides that,’ said Rose Swanger of Advise Finance. “I never get bored. I feel like a detective, constantly digging/verifying the answers. My greatest joy and reward is when my discovery and suggestion can impact a client in an unexpected and profound way.”
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.