Advisers' clients want even more of the human touch

Survey shows that only half of clients feel they're getting your full attention

May 18, 2015 @ 1:55 pm

By Srividya Kalyanaraman

It's not your advice, it's you your clients value, according to a new survey by the Hartford Funds.

The survey of 500 investors who work with a financial adviser found that only 32% of respondents valued financial performance more than a good personal relationship with their adviser.

Although most clients begin working with advisers to plan for retirement, only 47% of the investors in the age group of 45-64 feel like their advisers gave them a clear picture of life after retirement.

“Because retirement is often the trigger for the relationship, it is alarming that more than half of respondents feel that advisors aren't talking to them about life in retirement,” John Diehl, senior vice president of strategic markets at Hartford Funds, said in a news release. "Advisers need to find creative ways to continue the conversation about goals and the motivations for reaching them."

(More: It's time to look beyond the numbers to help strengthen client relationships.)

The traditional investment management-based adviser-client relationship has lost its usefulness in an age when people are bombarded with information and are looking for someone to help them filter out what is necessary to them.

“The emotional relationship between advisers and clients has never been more important than it is today. We live in a time when information is at consumers' fingertips and it is the job of the adviser to quiet the noise,” Mr. Diehl added. “Advisers should not only be expected to deliver on quantitative performance, but also take a human-centric approach to advice by offering holistic financial counsel based on clients' individual goals and needs.”

"Clients are looking for more than just facts, they want to know the benefits and merits of investments," said Megan Yost, vice president and head of participant engagement for State Street Global Advisors. "Clients are having higher level conversation about the nuances of short-term goals and long-term goals and hence communication has become extremely relevant and technology is enabling big firms to take a step in this direction."

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