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Survey: Investors Expect More from Wealth Managers

Wealth managers who skimp on financial planning could be putting their practices in peril.

A recent report by Spectrem Group revealed several disconnects between what wealthy investors expect of their financial advisors and the services they’re actually receiving. Although 60 percent of surveyed investors have a primary financial advisor, just about a third of investors feel they’re receiving what could be described as “wealth management services.”

The discrepancy between investors’ perceptions of financial advice and wealth management exists even as investors expect wealth management services to move down-market to households with a net worth of less than $1 million, according to the study. Exacerbating the gap in expectations and reality, almost a third of the respondents didn’t know if their advisory firm even offers wealth management services.

The survey also illuminated opportunities for financial service professionals to provide value for their clients. Investors want more tax planning than they’re currently getting. They also want advice related to insurance. More than eight out of every 10 investors want to see long-term care insurance advice included in their wealth management offering and almost all investors expect to have access to financial planning.

In fact, financial planning is so important, according to the survey, that investors may not feel like they’re receiving wealth management without it. While 64 percent of the communication received from advisors is about investments, according to those surveyed, just 35 percent is related to financial planning. “While investment management is an important part of wealth management, investors believe that financial planning and investment management should be combined in wealth management services,” the report noted.

The report focused on perceptions of wealth management according to survey results from respondents with a net worth between $100,000 and $25 million, not including primary residence, representative of the U.S. affluent population.

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