It all boils down to the basics: communication. YCharts, the cloud-based investment research platform, found out what clients really want from their advisors outside of advice and planning: more engaging and frequent communication.
YCharts surveyed 650 Americans who use financial advisors and wealth managers to see what advisors could do better. The survey was conducted through SurveyMoney’s Audience tool, which uses survey participants who are incentivized with payment or a reward. The report, which supports YCharts' communication-enabling tools that it sells to advisors, revealed three key insights: Clients would like more engagement, clients would like that interaction to be more personalized, and that how and where you engage your client correlates to the success of your business.
Too little contact
The report, "How Can Advisors Better Communicate With Clients?” shows that 64% of clients heard from their advisor infrequently (28% stated "very infrequently" and 36% said "infrequently"). Only 32% responded that the communication was “frequent” and 4% said “very frequent.” The most surprising part of this portion of the survey for YCharts was that 46% of households with more than $500,000 of assets managed by an advisor said they also have infrequent communications. It’s not clear how respondents defined frequent versus infrequent, but their shared sentiment is clear—they want more interaction with their advisor.
Respondents indicated that increased engagement would give them more confidence in their financial plan. Out of those who are infrequently contacted, 66% said “yes” to feeling more confident compared with 34% who said “no.” And from the pool of participants who are frequently contacted, 57% said they would feel more assured and 43% said the opposite.
Participants were also polled on the type of engagement they wanted. Clients want their advisor to anticipate questions they may have and then reach out to them about those questions. Thirty-five percent said they “strongly agree,” 40% said “somewhat agree,” and the remaining were either neutral (22%) or disagreed (3%). YCharts asked participants if they wanted advisors to send articles, statistics and visuals that pertain to their portfolio and there was an overwhelming “yes.” When YCharts broke the responses down by age, they found 83% of respondents under the age of 50 agree with the statement (17% did not), while 65% of those over 50 agreed and 35% did not.
Email older, text younger
YCharts also looked at where participants prefer for their advisor to engage them. Did they want emails, text messages, face-to-face, newsletters, phone calls, sharing blog posts or through social media? The most popular choice for participants who wanted content relevant to their portfolio holdings was email (79%). Those 50 and older preferred this. Following email were text messages (29%), face-to-face (26%), newsletters (26%), phone calls (23%), website (21%), Facebook (11%), LinkedIn (9%) and Twitter (8%).
Participants were given the same multiple choices for wanting an advisor’s perspective on the market and economy, financial planning tips and other related topics. Email topped again with 66%. Phone calls closely followed with 44%; face-to-face trailed with 39%; and text messages were 31%. Percentages in the teens went to Facebook (19%), newsletters (17%), LinkedIn (16%), blog or website (13%), and Twitter (10%).
Too retain or ... not?
YCharts posed another question: Would you consider your advisor's frequency and style of communication when deciding to retain his/her services? In whole, 85% said “yes” and 15% said “no.” YCharts broke that down by assets under management. For the participants with less than $500,000, 84% consider it, but 16% don’t. Those with more than $500,000 in AUM, 87% would and 13% would not. Would they consider the aforementioned when recommending their advisor? Majority (88%) would, while 12% would not.