Survey shows trust is at the heart of the adviser/client relationship

The results of a survey we and some of our adviser partners ran recently made some headlines last week. Professional Adviser, Money Marketing, and Wealth Adviser all picked up on the importance of empathy and trust in the adviser/client relationship.

The results came from two surveys: earlier this year, to contribute to a paper we produced on the value of advice, we asked our adviser partners to rank the elements of their service that they believe offer the most value to clients. 203 advisers took part.

Then, this autumn, 30 of those advisers surveyed their own clients with the same options to choose from. The differences between the advisers’ responses and the 144 clients who took part make interesting reading.

Adviser survey

Soft skills scored the highest and ranked in the top three in the adviser survey:

  1. Empathy/being someone you can trust (76%)
  2. Understanding a client’s life goals (49%)
  3. Simplifying complex financial concepts and peace of mind shared third place (47% each)

Client survey

Empathy/trust also came out on top (72%) with end clients. However, the rest of the results did not align entirely with what advisers viewed as most important. These include:

  • Peace of mind that a specialist is involved (59% compared to 47% in adviser survey)
  • Cashflow modelling (53% compared to only 18% of advisers)
  • The “Gift of time”, ie time saving from not having to look after their finances themselves (52% compared to 13% of advisers)
  • Asset allocation (51% compared to 16% of advisers)

The fact that clients consider asset allocation as so important is interesting. I know our adviser partners regard a discussion about this topic as a given in any client review, rather than a major value-add. So, considering the survey was carried out with clients of our adviser partners, having it ranked so highly isn’t a major surprise.

Adviser and client survey results graph

Investment designed for clients

Perhaps asset allocation resonates with these clients so much because our adviser partners have the ability to provide their clients with portfolios that are designed to meet their specific individual needs. Advisers can do this themselves using our technology, so they remain at the heart of the investment process.

We provide them with all the tools they need to construct the portfolios and also to have meaningful conversations with their clients in a clear and concise way.

While the soft skills that advisers rank in our survey are important and may not always be particularly obvious to the end clients, the fact that the nuts of bolts of financial advice, such as cash flow modelling and asset allocation, are listed so highly by clients is something advisers do need to consider.

By ensuring they meet all the needs of their clients, advisers can only strengthen the all-important trust their clients must have in them to continue to give them their business.