June 3, 2014Why Do Some Advisors Keep Their Books So Small?
Average assets under management for a financial advisor in 2013 were about $90 million, according to research firm PriceMetrix. What’s the story with FAs who manage half, or even less than half, that amount?
They want to stay small for lifestyle reasons, or to deliver superior client service.49% It’s not deliberate. If they could be bigger, they would be.5% AUM are beside the point when you consider emerging business models.
May 20, 2014Does Your Practice Focus on a Niche?
Carving out a niche is often portrayed as a best practice for financial advisors. Have you done so yet?
Yes, and it helps me stand out in a crowded and competitive market.29% I’m getting there, but it takes time.29% No, the market I serve is too small to support a real niche.
May 13, 2014Why Do Young People Fire Their Parents’ Advisors?
A majority of heirs take their assets out the door and hire a new wealth manager. What drives them away?
The advisor didn’t build a relationship with the heir.18% The heir sees the advisor as an authority figure rather than a trusted partner.9% I don’t know — when my wealthy clients pass away, their kids stay with me.
May 6, 2014Do Female Advisors Make a Team More Effective?
Many firms strive for gender diversity, on the theory that clients get better service from a mixed team. Do they?
Yes. Women’s natural empathy helps them build long-lasting client relationships.57% Yes. Women see the world differently from men, so their perspective makes the team sharper.22% Not necessarily. A good advisor is a good advisor, regardless of gender.
April 29, 2014What Do You Look for in an External PR Firm?
Many independent advisors outsource at least some of their marketing function. What should a good professional publicity outfit provide?
A retainer that covers comprehensive services with no surprise fees33% Expertise in financial services, especially the advice industry50% A broad network of centers of influence that might help build my practice17% Flexible staffing so my firm can work with a team, not just with an individual
April 22, 2014Will Alts, SRI, Foreign Securities Go Totally Mainstream?
Most retail investors have a fairly plain-vanilla asset mix. Do you think institutional strategies like alternatives, socially responsible investing, and foreign stocks and bonds will trickle down to Joe Sixpack’s portfolio?
Yes. Within a decade, they’ll all be commonplace in clients’ portfolios.9% High-net-worth and certain niche clients will use them, but they’re not appropriate for everyone.9% Anyone can use SRI and foreign securities, but hedge funds and private equity should be for accredited investors only.0% No — asset managers are trying to bring these strategies downmarket, but they’re not appropriate for retail investors.
March 25, 2014Are You Late to the Party When It Comes to Technology?
Some advisors still use fax machines or snail mail to get client signatures for transactions; others wouldn't know Skype from Pinterest. Are you one of them?
Yes — I just don’t have time to keep up with all the latest stuff.0% Yes — upgrading my software would cost too much.0% Yes — my clients are well-served by the systems I use now.43% No way — cutting-edge technology is part of a really outstanding practice.
March 18, 2014Do You Really Care Who Your Boss Is?
With reports, however sketchy, of management departures at Merrill Lynch, we’re asking advisors to let us know how much they care about such changes.
Not at all. Management doesn’t add much value these days anyway.50% I care somewhat, but I wouldn’t stay with a firm or leave it because a branch, complex or regional manager comes or goes.35% It’s very important to follow such news. Branch managers, and those above them on the ladder, have a direct effect on my work and my desire to stay with a firm.
February 11, 2014What Are You Telling Clients About Retail Data Breaches?
The recent, high-profile hacks of customer accounts at Target and Neiman Marcus have many consumers spooked. How are you advising clients to protect themselves?
We've sent out a memo outlining our own safeguards and reminding clients of best practices for online safety.13% We are recommending they avoid debit cards and contact their credit-card issuers to check up on procedures in case of a hack.25% Nothing. There is very little an individual can do to prevent data theft.
February 4, 2014Is There Anything to the “January Indicator”?
Some say stock performance in January sets the tone for the market all year. What are you telling clients the January market decline suggests for stocks in 2014?
The January Indicator says the year will be bumpy at best, so I’ll warn clients to play it safe.7% Fears are somewhat overblown. Emerging-market jitters will calm soon, and monthly U.S. employment figures will rise once the polar vortex passes.13% It’s nonsense. Time to get aggressive on great deals before people come to their senses.53% I don’t have a crystal ball. I’ll tell clients to stay the course we’ve agreed on.