Overall satisfaction with financial advisers is on an upward trend, according to Lifeplan Funds Management.
A survey conducted by Lifeplan and the University of Adelaide, has looked at clients’ attitudes towards advisers, including their perception of their adviser’s trust and reliability, technical ability, and investment performance.
A perceived increase in investment performance sent satisfaction numbers up 9.11% from October last year. However, the perception of advisers’ technical ability offset this by dropping 4.3%. Trust and reliability of advisers was also on the up, increasing 5.6% on last year.
Matt Walsh, head of Lifeplan, says the findings of the ICFS Financial Advice Satisfaction Index have implications for the way advisers manage their relationship with clients.
For instance, the 30-34 age group showed positive numbers for all three areas. Marsh says that if advisers know these clients are comfortable with the advice they’re getting, then they can concentrate their efforts on reassuring those clients who don’t have such positive perceptions.
“The decline in the perception of advisers’ technical ability could be a reflection of increased client expectations as market conditions continue to improve,” Walsh says.
“Anecdotally, client expectations have been rising in the past few years and investors are now demanding more from their advisers. The opportunity exists for advisers to demonstrate to clients the true benefit they provide, and to highlight how they are able to navigate their clients’ financial arrangements through the complex legislative environment.”
Since the October study, male and female clients have shown a stark difference in their perceptions. Generally, female clients rank their advisers’ financial literacy as higher than the males do. Marsh says that this could reflect female clients’ low levels of confidence in their own abilities, or the greater confidence of the male clients.
The survey also found that longer duration of advice, especially from the same adviser, generally results in a high level of perception on all three drivers of advocacy. Marsh says that advisers should capitalise on the opportunity to get word of mouth referrals.
“Advisers should encourage their long standing clients to refer their friends and family, as the survey results show that the longer a client stays with an adviser the more they value their advice.”