Expert: Paul Catt–Camfield & Steven Greenfield, Dimensional Fund Advisors Ltd
Facilitator: Rod Bryson, Capgemini Consulting
Dimensional Fund Advisors talked about a global study they have carried out seeking to understand what the end client really thinks about financial advisers.
The research was carried out amongst 19,000 participants. The profile was split 60% men; 40% women. The majority were aged between 55 and 74. Their investable assets typically peaked at between £500K and £3M.
The majority had been with their firm for more than five years.
Respondents were asked which one thing they would change about their overall experience with their adviser and they replied that they would like them to take away the uncertainty of the process.
In order of concerns:
- Not having enough money to live comfortably in retirement
- Experiencing a significant investment loss in a market downturn
- Outliving my money
- Incurring unforeseen expenses
Selecting an advisor:
When asked to identify the attribute which they consider most important in the relationship – the top three were:
- Investment returns
- Experience with clients like me
- Client service experience
When the survey was repeated in 2017 the importance of client service experience had gone up the ranking by one.
The group then discussed the fact that investment returns came out on top. They concluded that it was because they are easily measurable. However once the relationship became established the client service experience moved up the chart. The group felt that clients cared about returns when they began investing but less so after a while.
Clients are more demanding now that they are paying. The group were asked whether or not they poll their own clients. The group agreed that it is the financial plan that is key.
Investor returns without any context are meaningless. Almost all of them have a need which needs fulfilling.
They move managers due to the experience - when the adviser fails to deliver what they have promised. The investment piece is part of fulfilling their goals.
In the US there is a single stock equity culture. They are continually updating their goals. They are more interested in outperformance calls. Without investment returns you cannot achieve financial goals. They feel they have made money and they don't want to lose it.
Advisers: "we can talk things up and distract them from a focus on investment returns."
They then talked about how they had found their clients in the first place. 60% from referrals. They may have been influenced by advertising but not realised it. When the question was asked whether they actively chased referrals, the response was that they wait for them to come to them!
The group then talked about platforms and how they must find it difficult to attract them.
Referrals can be a burden if not the right sort of client. Same with advertising, e.g. Vouchedfor. People use technology like Google because they try to get the cheapest.
Someone in the group who had worked on a D2C platform said that the reason people had left was because they wanted to speak to someone. They are happy to self-serve but may feel the need to sense check their decision.
One of the group talked about their client feedback. "They don't always realise we want to grow."
The final point made related to price. We articulate how we manage money. "Price is only an issue in the absence of value."
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