Giving poor advice is the top reason clients switch financial advisors, but something as simple as returning telephone calls promptly is the number one action an advisor can take to develop loyalty in a client, according to a recent survey of affluent investors conducted by Spectrem Group.

   The survey measured responses from 500 investors with at least $500,000 in investable assets. It might seem odd, but the survey showed 90% of the investors feel that returning phone calls promptly is the most important reason for being loyal, beating out providing good returns on investments, which came in second at 80%.

   The survey, Client Satisfaction versus Loyalty, indicates that investors with less than $1 million in investable assets judge themselves to be more loyal (61%) than those with more than $1 million in investable assets (57%). This fact highlights "the importance of proactively serving wealthy clients," says the report. Older clients are more loyal, according to the survey, with 54% of those 18 to 50 years old considering themselves loyal compared to 64% of those 66 and older.

   Overall, some 60% of those surveyed consider themselves loyal to their advisors and unlikely to switch compared to only 5% who say they switch frequently.

   Even though the majority consider themselves loyal to their advisor, only 33% would follow an advisor to another firm, a decrease from the 55% who said they would follow an advisor a year ago, which "has potentially serious ramifications for financial advisors looking to make their next career move and counting on existing business to pave the way," says George H. Walper Jr., Spectrem Group president.

   Those using a full-service broker are slightly more likely to follow an advisor (36%) than those using someone who is strictly a financial planner or investment manager (33%).