Advisors' clients are being overwhelmed by the ever faster flow of financial information, which can make them less confident in the financial advice suggested to them, says David Patchen, regional director, ICD Management, Raymond James Financial Services, during day two of Raymond James' The Power Of Independence Conference in Orlando, Fla.

As sociologist and author Alvin Toffler predicted in his 1971 book Future Shock, Americans are now buried daily by a tidal wave of facts, figures and opinions delivered over the Internet. "Everything is moving so fast that it's almost impossible for us to keep up," said Patchen during today's morning general session entitled "Why They Don't Know What They Don't Know."

"Your clients depend upon you to keep them informed and keep them up to date," Patchen said. "How much information are your clients receiving each and every day and what impact is it having on them -- on their confidence, on their ability to make decisions?"

Patchen called clients' growing information overload an industry problem for all financial advisors that has to be addressed now if advisors hope to retain their increasingly perplexed clients.

Patchen asked the nearly full ballroom of advisors, "Are all of you and your clients growing more informed, or more overwhelmed and overexposed? Are we better of with all of this information, or just becoming more confused?"

To reduce this financial information overload Patchen says firms like Raymond James need to do a better job helping financial advisors track net new assets and serve as an information filter for clients.

Patchen added advisors should become more hands on and interactive with their clients. "The purpose is to tell them what they don't know and to suggest steps that they can taking. He said advisors should come up with two or three large goals for each client "that you can work on with them to educate each client.

-Jim McConville