The Research Reports

How to Explain the Value of Financial Advisors to Clients

Today's complex financial environment requires advisors to have a deeper level of knowledge and an advanced skill set. Consumers are confused, vulnerable and skeptical. You can put clients at ease by attaining advanced competency. Here's what clients value in their advisor:

  1. High net worth clients believe in the importance of advanced, voluntary education for their advisors. 62% of high net worth clients said it was somewhat or very important that their advisor hold voluntary designations or certifications in addition to licenses and registrations required by law. 86% of clients said knowing their advisor would lose his/her credentials if he/she failed to meet ethics standards, knowing their advisor had met a rigorous set of standards, knowing their advisor had met ongoing standards was somewhat or very important.
  2. Advanced certifications will be increasingly important to advisor selection in future. The critical importance of voluntary certifications/designations is highlighted when we look forward. With 37% of respondents having worked with their advisor for 10 years or more, gauging the importance of designations/certifications in advisor selection can be difficult. Looking forward, however, 76% of clients said that designations/certifications would be somewhat or very important if they were looking for a new advisor today.
  3. High net worth clients believe that advanced expertise sets their advisor apart. In addition to supporting credibility, clients believe that having advanced certifications sets their advisor apart in a competitive marketplace. 67% of respondents said they somewhat or completely agreed that the designations or credentials held by their advisor set him or her apart from other advisors.
  4. High net worth clients want a deeper understanding of their advisor’s designations. Advisors have a real opportunity to help clients understand the designations/certifications they hold and what those designations mean. While 71% of clients say they are somewhat or very comfortable with their current level of understanding of the designations held by their advisor, 54% say they would like a better understanding. It appears that anything short of a very high level of understanding creates a desire to learn more.
  5. It’s not just the designation but what it represents. The importance of designations and certifications reflects what is most important to clients generally. When asked about what was most important in a relationship, ethics, trust and knowledge rank highest. The Investments & Wealth Institute believes that these characteristics are best demonstrated through voluntary and advanced credentials/designations.
  6. Communication is a missing link. 73% of engaged clients said their advisor had proactively shared information on designations/credentials, dropping to 34% among those who were not engaged.
  7. Clients place greatest value on investment management.When asked about the services they receive, the highest percentage of clients say their advisor provides investment management strategies and support on maximizing income in retirement.

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