We call them Professionals. They are the doctors and dentists and lawyers who spent all those years in school, and then years in training, and spent a lot of money to set themselves up in the profession they wanted to pursue.
Our study Advisor Relationships and Changing Advice Requirements examined the attitudes and concerns Professionals have as it relates to their use of financial advisors. We found that Professionals sometimes differ from the Chief Corporate Executives, Business Owners and Managers also studied in the report, and are in some cases reluctant to use advisors at all.
“Most affluent investors have, or had, a livelihood that got them to their current financial level,’’ said Spectrem president George H. Walper Jr. “Professionals are highly educated, and have a great deal riding on their occupation. Our occupational segmentation shows that Professionals have strong opinions about how financial advisors are used and how they can help them build their portfolio.”
To begin with, not all Professionals use financial advisors. A full one-quarter of Millionaire Professionals with a net worth between $1 million and $5 million do not use an advisor. Among Ultra High Net Worth Professionals with a net worth between $5 million and $25 million, that percentage drops to 19.
There are noticeable differences in advisor usage based on how much Professionals are worth. For instance, among Millionaire Professionals, more than one-third use more than one financial advisor, with 24 percent using two and 10 percent using three advisors for financial needs.
UHNW Professionals are even more likely to spread the job out. Twenty-six percent use two advisors and 16 percent use three, so that 42 percent rely on more than one advisor among that segment.
Surprisingly, among Professionals who do not use advisors, 13 percent of Millionaires and 11 percent of UHNW Professionals claim they cannot afford a financial advisor. Eleven percent of UHNW Professionals say they do not know who to use for a financial advisor.
Far more prevalent, however, are the Professionals who believe they can outperform the financial advisors, with 56 of UHNW Professionals and 55 percent of Millionaire Professionals feeling that way.
The disparity between Millionaires and UHNW Professionals continues regarding the situations in which they use financial advisors. Sixty percent of UHNW Professionals rely and trust their advisor for a vast majority of their financial needs, while only 46 percent of Millionaire Professionals are that dependent.
The Millionaire Professionals are far more likely than their UHNW counterparts (and more likely than Millionaires in other professions) to use investments of their own to compare with the results of an advisor (26 percent) and make more of their own financial decisions without an advisor (35 percent).
While most affluent investors found their advisor through referrals from friends or family members, that is not the case among a large percent of Millionaire Professionals. Ten percent found their advisor at seminars or special investment events, and 8 percent found their advisor when searching for a certain financial product, only to find that their advisor was an expert in regards to that product.
And there is one hilarious takeaway from our report on investors and their advisors, especially when you consider the number of times people get calls from the secretary or nurse from their doctor’s office. Two-thirds of Millionaire Professionals are fine with getting a return phone call from someone in their advisor’s office rather than speaking directly to the advisor.