Investors Unwilling To Pay For Fiduciary Advice, But 65 Percent Want It
A majority of investors are not willing to pay more for an advisor who meets fiduciary standards, according to a survey of 1,000 investors by Spectrem’s Investor Pulse.
Government regulators and the media have spent countless hours debating whether a fiduciary standard should be applied to advisors handling retirement accounts. The rule, originally set to go into effect next month, has now been postponed by the Trump administration, but has not been declared dead. Under the rule advisors would have to put the best interests of the client first.
But Spectrem, a consulting and research organization, found that many investors are unfamiliar with what a fiduciary is and even those who do know are not willing to pay extra to have their best interests placed ahead of other factors, such as how much the advisor is being paid in commissions.
Spectrem’s Investor Pulse found only 24 percent of investors claimed to be “very familiar”’ with the term and 41 percent claimed to be “familiar” with it. Sixteen percent of investors claimed to be “unfamiliar” with the term or had never heard of it. The remainder did not answer. Men professed more knowledge than women, and the wealthier the investor the more he or she claimed to understand.
George H. Walper Jr., Spectrem president, goes even further to say far fewer actually know what a fiduciary is even though they say they understand.
The survey asked investors to rate on a scale of zero to 100 how willing they would be to pay more to have an advisor who serves as a fiduciary. The average score was just over 39. People with $5 million or more in investments rated their willingness at almost 49.
However, when asked whether they believe a fiduciary rule was necessary for advisors working on retirement accounts, 65 percent agreed. “In general, investors with greater wealth were more interested in seeing the regulation put in place than those with less wealth,” says Spectrem.
For those advisors who are fiduciaries, it is to their advantage to educate their clients about what a fiduciary is and to make sure they know their advisor is carrying out those principles, Walper says.
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