Financial advisors vastly overestimate their clients' knowledge about investing and their willingness to take risks, according to a new survey by Accenture, a global management consulting and technology services firm. In fact, Accenture says that clients themselves don’t have as much faith in their own knowledge or as much hunger for risk as advisors give them credit for.

Advisors are three times more likely to describe their clients as very knowledgeable about investing than the investors are themselves (42 percent versus 12 percent), says the firm.

Accenture surveyed 400 financial advisors and compared the results with those of an earlier survey of 1,005 investors and potential investors who use social media at least once a week.

Only 1 percent of advisors described their clients as unknowledgeable about investing, while 25 percent of the investors themselves said they didn’t know about the subject.

The surveys showed advisors are more than twice as likely to see their clients as aggressive investors than the clients themselves (28 percent versus 13 percent).

According to the surveys’ results, advisors might also be overestimating the strength of their customer relationships. Sixty-seven percent of advisors claim to have a personal relationship with their clients, whereas only 38 percent of the clients feel that way.

“Our research suggests that financial advisors need to focus on better understanding their clients’ views and objectives to foster closer, more trusting relationships,” says Alex Pigliucci, the global managing director of Accenture’s wealth and asset management services.

In another area of the advisor survey, entitled “Closing the Gap: How Tech-Savvy Advisors Can Regain Investor Trust,” nearly half (48 percent) of the advisors said they are using social media daily to interact with clients.

Half the advisors said they have successfully used social media to convert prospects into clients, and 74 percent said social media helps them increase assets under management.

Nearly half (49 percent) said they believe firms that fail to leverage social media will lose clients to firms that do.

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