Client satisfaction levels with financial advisers have taken a surprise dive, but it appears only to be male customers who are kicking up a stink.
These are the findings of the latest Lifeplan ICFS Financial Advice Satisfaction Index, which has found a divergence in the satisfaction levels of men and women for the first time since the survey’s inception five years ago.
The six-monthly survey, which was carried out last month, found that the overall index has declined from 71.3% to 70% per cent since April.
Lifeplan head Matt Walsh said that the fall could be largely attributed to a significant decline in perceptions of trust and reliability, which fell by 6.2%.
The other two indicators either increased or only saw a small decline, with perception of performance dropping by 0.07% and perception of technical ability increasing by 3.4%.
Walsh added that the fall in overall satisfaction was unexpected, as there had been a steady upward trend over the last two years – with April’s 3.84% rise indicating a dramatic improvement.
“Historically, the index has moved in the same general direction of the ASX200 but for the first time since the survey started in October 2007, it has shifted in the opposite direction,” he added.
“The drop back to a lower level – although still higher than the previous few years – is cause for concern, particularly as there seems to be no single reason behind such a change in client perceptions.”
But it’s not all clients who have changed their tune, said Walsh, as it was the attitudes of male clients that triggered of the fall, while female participants actually gave their advisers a better score than six months ago.
“Across all three drivers, the perceptions of female clients have increased in the latest survey, while male perceptions have dropped significantly,” he said.
“One possible reason for the positive response from female clients could be that women are more attracted to the holistic services increasingly being offered by financial advisers.
“Another interesting finding of the survey is that women tend to stay with their financial adviser for longer than their male counterparts.
“This suggests financial advisers may find it worthwhile focussing on building their female client base, as women could be more likely to stay with their adviser over the long-term and gain value from the relationship.”
He added, however, that it remains important to address the concerns of male clients, who seem to be more critical of their advisers.