Aussie advisers soar on the world stage of client satisfaction

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The clients of Australian advisers are the most satisfied in Asia and the second most satisfied across all major global markets, a significant survey has revealed.

The Legg Mason global investment survey is the latest analysis to rebuff a recent series of surveys that have indicated that the perception of advisers is negative and continuing to fall.

The asset manager's research looked at the attitudes of 4,200 investors in 20 key markets, including 200 high net worth Australian investors.

Significantly it found that 40% of respondents said they were entirely satisfied with the services they received from their adviser - a figure higher than every other major market apart from the US, and a huge jump from the global average of 14%.

Of those surveyed in Australia, 36% said they currently work with a financial adviser, with a further 28% interested in doing so in the future.

Legg Mason’s global head of distribution marketing, Matt Schiffman, said the results prove that in comparison with global peers, Aussie advisers are hitting the mark.

“Australian investors have enjoyed a buoyant market, and their advisers deserve credit for capturing that upside,” he said. “By using their expertise to steer clients through the volatility of the post-GFC years, Australian advisers have ensured a loyal and satisfied clientele.”

However the research also revealed areas needing improvement in terms of client satisfaction, which included lower advisory fees (35%), being more proactive (30%), and looking for more innovative solutions (24%).

A few weeks ago another survey - the Lifeplan Funds Management financial advice satisfaction index - also revealed that investor satisfaction with financial advisers was actually at its highest level since the inception of the index in 2007.

In light of the results, Lifeplan head Matt Walsh told Wealth Professional this buck in the past trend of seemingly “negative” perceptions about advisers was just down to the right questions finally being asked.

He said people will generally give a different answer if they are asked: “what do you think of financial advisers” than if they were asked: “what do you think of your adviser”.

“There’s a dichotomy between what people say about their own planner to how they talk about the perception of the industry. This survey uncovers what people say about their own planners,” he said of the Lifeplan research.

Walsh said that survey revealed the “green shoots” of the new advice industry, which is now starting to regain momentum after the GFC.

Advisers have recovered and even slightly exceeded the levels of pre-GFC satisfaction, and in many ways the GFC has helped the industry to shape itself in a better way, he said.

“It’s made the necessary changes, responded to them, and now we’re seeing the rewards of that. I think with [the levels as they are] advisers will withstand a shock to the market if it does fall, but if it stays steady we’ll see a rise.”


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