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.
January 28, 2014What Does Your Dream Client Look Like?
In reality, these descriptions aren’t mutually exclusive. But if they were, which would you prefer as a customer?
A high-net-worth head of household who’s still accumulating assets.54% An intelligent person with a good attitude who respects my expertise.38% Someone with a huge network who recommends me to everybody.
January 14, 2014How Do You Make Sure Prospects Can Find You?
Experts say “inbound marketing” is the key to success today — not pushing out ads you hope customers will see, but positioning yourself so they’ll discover you. What’s your “inbound marketing” method?
I spend hours a week on my blog and Twitter feed. “Keyword” and “hashtag” are my middle names.20% I use Facebook, Pinterest and other sites to share useful or provocative content about investing and financial planning.80% I don’t really think I can gain clients this way. I stick to old-school marketing techniques, like seminars.
January 7, 2014What Do You Look for in a Custodian?
Custody providers compete for RIA business with many types of services. What do you consider most valuable?
I need a company that does it all — trust services, practice-management help, tech tools, everything.20% As long as my custodian is 100% reliable, I don’t care to pay extra for bells and whistles.40% I want one with a lot of know-how in helping newly independent firms grow.
December 24, 2013Do You Carry Professional Liability Insurance?
Clients can sue advisors over all kinds of things — low portfolio returns, cybercrime, late statements — and SEC enforcement actions have picked up. Are you insured?
I have a basic E&O policy, appropriate to my book of business.22% I carry E&O, D&O plus specialty policies (cyber liability, ERISA bonds, etc.).33% I’m a small shop and I play by the rules, so I don’t need insurance.
December 17, 2013Do You Prefer Financially Literate Clients?
Wealth management involves a good deal of specialized knowledge, from market mechanics to the miracle of compound interest. Would you rather work with clients who understand the fundamentals?
Yes. The savvier the client, the less time I’m forced to spend explaining basic concepts.14% No. Clients who consider themselves financially sophisticated tend to cause me problems.43% I’m good at working with clients anywhere on the financial literacy spectrum.
December 10, 2013How Much Do You Need to Know About Behavioral Finance?
Many advisors seem to think insights gleaned from behavioral finance can help them keep clients from making infamous mistakes like buying high and selling low, and not saving enough when they can to make retirement more pleasant. What’s your take on behavioral finance?
The more I can learn about specific biases and “behavioral” investor types, the more effective I am as an advisor.11% I get the gist of it, and that’s plenty to remind me that clients need cajoling to stay out of trouble.5% Theories of why people think and act the way they do don’t help me preserve or make money for my clients.
November 26, 2013Do You Use Holiday-Themed Marketing?
Some advisors write heartwarming client letters at year-end or reach out to prospects with suggestions for financial New Year’s resolutions. Do you use the festive season as a touch point?
Yes. Every year we lay the holiday cheer on thick, and our clients love it.71% We might refer to the holidays in outreach materials, but we don’t make a point of it.14% No. We feel it’s a stressful season for many, so we let it pass without comment.
November 19, 2013How Do You Feel About Finding Prospects Through Chance Encounters?
The person chatting with you in the coffee shop or at the train station might make a perfect client for your practice. Would you suggest an exploratory meeting?
I’m reluctant. There are a lot of wackos out there, so I prefer referrals and networking.50% I’m open, but I’d do some homework on the person before following up.50% It’s a great technique because the relationship starts on an easy footing.0% I wouldn’t dream of imposing on a stranger — and I don’t need the business that much.