Well, What Do You Expect?


By definition, a “financial advisor’’ should be able to advise a client on all matters financial.

But does that include purchases that don’t involve investment strategies? Does that involve long-term, financially extensive matters like buying a home?

Should a financial advisor be able to serve as a travel agent as well?

Ask a financial advisor to relate a story about the oddest client request they ever heard, and you will be regaled with some funny tales. But most investors do not expect their advisor to provide services beyond the scope of investment decisions, financial and retirement planning, and wealth transfer matters.

Spectrem’s monthly survey of investors includes questions on matters for topical discussion, and recently the survey asked wealthy investors “how enthusiastic would you e about your financial advisor offering advice on the following subjects?” Investors were asked to place their enthusiasm on a 0-to-100 scale.

For example, the question of whether an advisor should offer advice on travel arrangements and expenses rated at 19.99, the lowest rating among five questions asked. Apparently, wealthy investors either are capable of making their own travel plans or have a travel agent to make those decisions for them.

A more practical function for a financial advisor might involve the high cost of college, and investors were asked how they feel about their advisor suggesting college funding options. That choice was rated at 24.68, which might be a bit low considering how much economic and financial thought goes into funding college, either as a savings route early or as a pay-as-you-go route once the child enters college.

The highest rated choice, interestingly, was whether advisors could advise on determining well-administered charities. The overall rating for that potential service was 26.38, which is still not high but is definitely a matter of concern for investors who want to donate funds but want those funds to be properly employed, with a high percentage of the funds going to funding the charitable efforts rather than to administrative costs.

Results on Spectrem’s monthly survey of investors on current trends and topics are available in Spectrem’s Investor Profile Tool.



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