The nervous-client-syndrome has yet to wear off. That’s according to a new survey that says most advisors are still spending the majority of their time with existing clients rather then generating new business.
SEI polled 150 advisors in May and found that just 16 percent of them were spending most of their time acquiring new clients. Meanwhile, nearly half, 46 percent, spend the majority of their days working with existing clients. Kevin Crowe of SEI says, “Clients are still requiring lots of extra time from their advisors. Their request for communication has been increased since the market downturn and hasn’t changed much.” He adds, “Advisors are recognizing that client hand holding is lasting longer than they thought it would. Client communication hasn’t reverted back to normal levels.”
And though the markets may not be as unpredictable as they were in the last 18 months or so, there are plenty of other issues that have clients remaining worried. “Clients are calling up wondering asking about regulatory reform, tax changes and health care. The conversations are not always about day-to-day market conditions,” Crowe says.
Mark Matley, principal of the Insight Group in Salt Lake City, says, “Economic uncertainty in Washington and on Wall Street is very unsettling for investors, and this directly impacts advisors,” “As a result, financial advisors must continually provide clarity, direction, and new solutions for our clients. Our success will be determined by our ability to do that and still find time to add to our client base.”
Crowe says the difference now is that advisors understand they should be spending less time hand-holding and more time prospecting. “They’ve asked us to provide content that address questions their clients might have,” he says. The hope is that it may free up some time for advisors to start gathering new assets. Check out our July 2009 story about advisors who spend too much time with the wrong clients and who are firing their “C” clients.
Investors, scarred by 2008 and recent market volatility are looking for advisors to provide a heightened level of proactive guidance,” says Steve Onofrio, Managing Director, SEI Advisor Network. He adds, “As a result, advisors need to be more efficient so they can meet existing clients’ needs and still continue their outreach to acquire new prospects.”