Advisors are getting a false sense that the financial industry has recovered from the recent recession, says an SEI practice management executive.
John Anderson, head of practice management solutions for SEI Advisor Network, says that too often, one or two positive metrics are highlighted from financial reports at the exclusion of other, not-so-positive results, giving advisors the mistaken idea the financial industry, as a whole, has recovered.
Case in point, according to Anderson, is the recently released PriceMetrix The State of Retail Wealth Management report that states that financial advisors increased production and significantly raised average assets under management in 2012.
According to the report, average assets under management grew 9 percent in 2012, rising from $74.0 million to $80.8 million and average annual revenue grew 2 percent, increasing from $537,000 to $550,000.
When you consider that the S&P had a total return of about 16 percent and the EAFE returned about 17 percent for 2012, Anderson says, the average balanced 60/40 client portfolio should have had about an 11.5 percent return. Yet the average assets under management according to PriceMetrix grew by only 9 percent.
Instead of being proud that the industry shook off the challenges of the recession, Anderson states, advisors should be concerned that not only did their books of business not grow, they didn’t even keep up with market appreciation. To him, it looks like the average advisor lost money last year, not gained.
“I don’t see a lot of advisors growing. In fact, I see advisors as kind of standing still,” says Anderson.
He believes the PriceMetrix study is a wake-up call for advisors to take a hard look at their practices. Advisors need to think about the long-term value of their business and their long-term relationship with clients. Anderson believes more advisors need to focus on running a business as well as being a financial planner.