Massive repetition is necessary to get clients to realize their bonds will decline in value as interest rates inevitably rise, said Edward Jones and Merrill Lynch leaders at the Investment Company Institute's annual meeting.

Edward Jones Managing Partner Jim Weddle said he will be sending a letter soon to the firm’s 7.5 million retail investor clients warning them of the danger. “It will be the tenth time our clients have heard it. Maybe the eleventh time will help,” Weddle said.

John W. Thiel, head of U.S. Wealth Management and the Private Banking and Investment Group for Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management, bemoaned that an advisor can have a conversation with a client 100 times about interest-rate risk and the customer and won’t get the point.

“(Former football coach) Lou Holtz said it best. You have to tell people something 1,000 times,” Thiel said.

Thiel said advisors have to focus more on the outcomes that their clients want from investing, such as enough money for comfortable retirements and college educations for their children, and talk less on investment performance.

“Where we want to go is to the funded status of a goal, than how many basis points do we exceed a particular benchmark. Clients are tired of our pie charts,” he said.

Weddle concurred: “The first thing an advisor has got to discuss with a client is, why are you investing at all?”

Weddle said his firm plans to grow its staff of 12,600 financial advisors to 20,000 by the end of 2020.