Servicing Your HNWs

A recent Fidelity Investments survey says clients still find portfolio performance to be the most important aspect of the client-advisor relationship. What can advisors do about this?

A recent Fidelity Investments survey shows that affluent clients will still replace their advisors if they are not meeting portfolio goals. In fact, half of 510 affluent investors the survey polled indicated portfolio performance is more important than their personal relationship with advisor. Meanwhile, 46 percent felt the two are equal and only 4 percent felt the personal relationship was the most important aspect of the advisor-client association. Fidelity and High-Net-Worth Marketers conducted the survey, which also included responses from 320 financial advisors. The study aims to shed light on the dynamics between advisors and their affluent or high net worth clients, according to Jay Lanigan, president of Fidelity Registered Investment Advisor Group. As a result of the returns-based focus, many investors are spreading their wealth around: "56 percent of the investors [polled] say that they work with more than one advisor and we found that the wealthier tend to actually work with even more" than the average investors, says Paula David, head of marketing for Fidelity’s RIA group. Predictably, the survey encourages advisors to become more attentive to the needs of their affluent clients. When investors have more than one advisor, David says, there’s opportunity for one of them to expand his share of the investor’s wallet—perhaps by positioning himself as the "quarterback" who builds a network of "other service providers that would offer some of these specialty services."

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