A successful financial advisor can have dozens if not hundreds of clients, and if those clients are all attentive to their investments and involved in the process, an advisor can be a very busy person every day, including weekends.
There are calls to make to alert investors to changes in the market. There are emails to send and texts to respond to and phone calls to return. An advisor can hear from those dozens of investors all in the same day, especially if the market is in a volatile state.
In those situations, it can be impossible for the advisor to complete all of the communications himself. He needs to be able to turn some of those texts, emails and voice messages over to someone else to deal with while he handles the proactive phone calls he feels he needs to make.
Which is all well and good until one of the calls or texts he is trying to return is to an investor who demands to speak to the advisor only in matters dealing with investments. If all an advisor’s investors demand that one-on-one communication model, the advisor can run out of hours in a day.
Spectrem’s quarterly wealth segmentation series study Advisor Relationships and Changing Advice Requirements asked investors whether they are willing to accept calls from associates of their primary advisor or whether they must speak to the person in charge of their accounts at all times.
“Just as when you have had a recent visit to see your physician, there are times when you can speak to an associate to get a report and times you need to speak to the person in charge,’’ said Spectrem president George H. Walper Jr. “Investors can be finicky about the person they discuss their most delicate financial matters with, and advisors have to balance their busy day with the knowledge that some investors will not accept a phone call from anyone but their primary advisor.”
Adding to the pressure of the situation is the fact that some investors want to receive responses to their phone calls, emails or texts in a tight window of time, so that juggling communications can become a major part of an advisor’s day.
The Spectrem study looks at investors from three wealth segments, and the middle one is the Millionaires segment, with investors with a net worth between $1 million and $5 million. Among Millionaires, 66 percent prefer to deal with one person for all contact regarding their investments. Almost 30 percent are willing to accept support from additional team members when necessary, and only 6 percent prefer a team approach which allows for immediate contact with someone familiar with their portfolio.
So that’s two-thirds of all clients who want to deal only with their advisor. That makes it difficult to fit in a lunch break or a midday workout.
In terms of return phone calls and emails, Millionaire investors lighten up a bit. Fifty-six percent are willing to get a return message from someone other than their advisor in response to a query.
(As mentioned above, the study looks at acceptable time frames for responses. Among Millionaires, 27 percent except a return phone call in under two hours, and 59 percent expect a same day response.)
Younger Millionaires tend to be a bit less demanding of their advisor, and are willing to hear from a financial provider team member when the advisor cannot return the phone call or email.
Top Takeaways for Advisors
Obviously, the matter of who is available to talk at all hours of the day must be handled when the client is new. Bringing in associates to an initial meeting is advised, so that the investor can put a face to a voice if they are willing to accept messages from someone other than their advisor.
Those clients who demand one-on-one attention at all times must be informed of the limitations that exist on such a demand. Advisors can take different tacks to alleviate the pressure of that client that demands one-on-one attention, but without an early clarification, problems will appear almost daily from one camp or another.
©2016 Spectrem Group