Client-centered advisors have an edge over ones focused on investments.

Do you consider yourself to be a client-centered advisor? Not surprisingly, nearly every advisor does.

Undoubtedly you see yourself as a client-centered advisor, too. However, research from CEG Worldwide tells us fewer than 14% of advisors actually are. Only 14%! Instead of putting their focus on taking care of their clients, the vast majority of advisors-the other 86%-are more concerned with investments.

And so what? Well, two big things from the research jumped out at us: 1) Client-centered advisors did much better financially than investment-centered advisors. In fact, the numbers you will see later are staggering. 2) One overriding theme of our presentations is that financial advisors are in one of the most competitive industries in the world, and in competitive industries, you need an edge, a competitive advantage. To us, becoming a truly client-centered advisor was that edge, the best way to set yourself apart from your competition.

To find out if you truly are a client-centered advisor, you've got to start by being introspective and asking yourself some tough questions about how you really approach your clients. Start with the following five sets of questions:

How often you meet with clients. Do you encourage clients to meet with you on a regular basis (such as quarterly)? Or do you meet with them only sporadically?

How you spend your time. Do you spend at least half of your time with clients (in person or on the phone)? Or do you spend less than half?

How you see your most important role as a financial advisor. Is it most important to you to build your relationships with clients in order to be their trusted advisor? Or is it more important to provide the best investment products and services?

How you responded to September 11, 2001. Did you contact each client immediately to reassure them and respond to their concerns? Or did you avoid initiating contact until the crisis was past?

How often you receive additional assets to manage from existing clients. Do you often receive additional assets from current clients? Or almost never?

As you can see, there are two very different types of responses. If you generally answered yes to the first question in each set, you are clearly a client-centered advisor. On the other hand, if you answered yes to the second question, you, like most financial advisors, are investment-centered.