Accessibility Outweighs Investment Advice as Barometer of Trust by Sue Bergin

According to a recent survey, clients are more forgiving of bad investment advice from their advisor than they are of poor communication skills.

The findings were drawn from the John Hancock Trust Survey™, which polled mass affluent investors (household income of at least $100,000, investable assets of at least $200,000) in mid-April 2012.

Twenty-five percent of the survey respondents indicated that inaccessibility and unresponsiveness as the top reason for lack of trust in a financial advisor. Coming in a distant second, at 13%, was poor investment advice. The third most prevalent reason for losing trust in a financial advisor was the lack of a personalized approach.

While it is helpful to know that the quickest way to lose trust is to dodge calls, delete e-mails without responding, and ignore client text messages, it is also useful to know what you can do to build trust.

According to the survey, trust is most inspired by the following factors:

• Clear explanations of investment recommendations (54%)
• Knowledge and timeliness about products and trends (54%)
• Fee disclosure (51%)
• Responsiveness (49%)

Somewhat surprisingly, the following factors ranked relatively low in terms of the number of respondents who felt they were important in building trust in an advisor:

• Recommendation by family or friend (21%)
• User-friendly tools and calculators (16%)
• Informative website (11%)
• Community involvement (5%)

The results point to the importance of blending both expertise and communication. Clients want to work with advisors who understand and can explain sophisticated financial concepts, and who are accessible when needed and as needed.

Advisors and Their Election Concerns

If you asked 100 advisors to identify their clients biggest retirement savings concerns, and you are likely to get at least half dozen or so answers.  If you asked the same group how our nation can pull out of our current economic malaise, and one answer would drown out all others.  There must be an administrative change

In May, 442 advisors shared their thoughts and concerns about the on the impending presidential election by participating in our Brinker Barometer online survey.

70% of those surveyed indicated that four more years of an Obama Administration is their biggest concern.  Advisors were asked to rank election concerns in the fourth quarter of 2011, and only 56% at that time ranked an Obama re-election as their top concern.

Following in a distant second to the fear of a continued Obama administration is the fear of “a divided congress” at 18%.  Romney winning the election only instilled fear to 5% of the respondents, and a growing Tea Party influence made 4% squeamish.

According to the advisors surveyed, 2012 will not only be a “will the best man win” election, but a “will the best man to fix the economy” election.

When asked for the indicators that might improve Obama’s re-election potential, 63% of the respondents thought lower unemployment rates might help the most.  40% however, thought that lower unemployment rates would be of no help whatsoever.

Ninety-six percent of respondents said the candidate with the most effective plan to fix the economy would claim victory.  Four percent believed that fixing the healthcare system is the best route to Pennsylvania Avenue.

To read more about advisors thoughts on the upcoming election, along with their predictions for the Republican candidate running mate, Click here.