Trust in financial institutions and advisors is on the rise, but a growing number of affluent investors appear willing to leave their current advisors, according to a Northstar/Sullivan Rebuilding Investor Trust study.
Sixty-four percent of the 1,290 individual investors with at least $100,000 of investable assets say they currently work with a financial advisor. Of those who do work with an advisor, 43% say they are "very satisfied with their firm," and 51% say they are "very satisfied with their advisor."
However, the study showed that trust and satisfaction do not necessarily translation to loyalty, as 36% of those who work with an advisor say they will consider moving assets away from their current firm, and 25% say they will consider moving assets away from their current advisor.
The study also showed that 25% of those who did not currently work with a financial advisor were planning to seek investment advice within the year.
"Looking ahead, we see our findings as a wake-up call for institutions but also a great acquisition opportunity, as investors are more open to other providers who can show them a more compelling roadmap for success," says Barbara Sullivan, managing partner of Sullivan. "This means institutions and advisors should take a more active approach to engaging their clients and prospects with transparent language and personalized service."
Forty-one percent of investors identified themselves as conservative; nearly double the findings from 2008, according to the study. More than half (58%) say they are more focused on protecting principal, while 39% are focused on long-term growth and only 29% are focused on short term growth.
Trust in their financial advisor has also increased from 61% in 2009 to 74% this year, with 41% trusting personal communications from their advisor more than any other form of information. The study showed that investors trust in their advisors increased with the frequency of contact, with only 24% satisfied with advisors who contact them once per year, and 63% satisfied with those who contact them more frequently.
The study also showed that affluent investors are not confident in meeting their retirement financial goals, with only 19% reporting they were "very confident."
"Conversations and communications with investors need to reflect the new investor mindset that addresses this need for change," says Sullivan. "Language that conveys security, transparency and a long-term, personalized approach garners the most positive reaction among those polled. Financial services firms need to reevaluate how to appeal to investors who are feeling uncertain, less confident, and more risk-averse."