Client Profile by Advisor Type


There are specific characters of affluent investors that determine the financial advisor they prefer to use.

Our newest perspective Investor Profiles and Their Preferred Advisor examines the advisor choices of investors and found trends based on the type of investor that prefers a certain type of advisor.

The investors surveyed have a net worth between $100,000 and $25 million, not including primary residence.

Here is a look at each of seven different types of financial advisors and the investors who tend to use them:

Full Service Broker – By far the most popular choice of advisor, the Full Service Broker has the oldest clientele, with an average age of 63 (Investment Managers also have a 63-year-old client base by average). Ninety-two percent of their clients are retired or semi-retired. Full Service Brokers have one of the highest percentages of conservative clients (17 percent).

Independent Financial Planner – The second-most popular choice among investors, Independent Financial Planners also have a huge majority of clients who are retired or semi-retired (91 percent). Their clientele is more moderate in terms of risk than the investors who prefer other types of advisors. Most notably, 69 percent of investors using an Independent Financial Planner would move with their advisor if the advisor left the company he presently works for. It makes sense, then, that Independent Financial Planners get the highest marks for trust from the investors who use them.

Investment Manager – With a client’s average age of 63, Investment Managers and Full Service Brokers have the oldest clientele. Interestingly, their clients are almost evenly split between men and women (52 percent to 48 percent). Investment Managers have the highest percentage of investors who are either Advisor-Dependent or Advisor-Assisted, both with a high degree of dependence on the knowledge of the advisor. Almost 30 percent of their clients claim to have little or no investment knowledge.

Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) – Investors who use RIAs are the least likely to want to risk a portion of their investments for a higher rate of return (only 29 percent). Investors give RIAs the second-highest level of trust (behind Independent Financial Planners). As such, RIA clients are among the most likely to recommend their advisor to others (72 percent).

Banker/Private Banker – Although Millennials make up only a small portion of the investment community, Bankers have the highest percentage of Millennials in their client list. They also have the smallest percentage of Baby Boomers. Seventeen percent of investors using Bankers are still working, the highest percentage among the seven types of advisors. Perhaps it all relates (age, still working), but investors using bankers are also more likely to be conservative in terms of risk (20 percent).

Mutual Fund Company Representative – By a wide margin, investors using a Mutual Fund Company Representative is more likely to be knowledgeable or very knowledgeable about investing. More than half of those investors like to be actively involved in the day-to-day management of their investments. They also have the highest degree of optimism about the future, with 57 percent expecting their financial situation to improve over the next 12 months.

Discount Broker/Online Broker – The smallest collection of investors also has an outlook unique among the other investors. They are overwhelmingly male (71 percent), and more than 70 percent have a limited use of advisors. Thirty-five percent of investors using a Discount Broker say they are aggressive or most aggressive in terms of investment risk, and almost 60 percent say they enjoy investing and do not want to stop doing it. Notably, investors using a Discount Broker have the lowest percentage of those who say their financial situation has improved over the last year.