5) Engaging with clients to better understand personal values: A discussion focused strictly on performance could burry what actually guides client financial decisions – their values. With the emergence of ethical investing, impact investing and the various permutations of environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria, it’s important for advisors to understand how their clients’ beliefs can direct their investment decisions, especially with regard to the choice of funds. Today, investment analysis has reached the point at which almost any belief or preference can be accommodated, and advisors who understand this can provide more options and better choices to their clients.

Advisors who focus on the human dynamics of the client relationship will complement their skills in investment analysis and other technical areas, and provide a level of service that will engage and retain clients. The first step to building a better relationship is through improved communications throughout the year but especially in client review meetings. Advisors can start by looking at the steps above and incorporating them into their own client relationships.

— The above survey results came from Natixis Investment Managers' "US Survey of Financial Professionals," conducted by CoreData Research in March 2018. It included 300 financial advisors.

Dave Goodsell is executive director of the Natixis Center for Investor Insight, a research program dedicated to the analysis and reporting of issues and trends important to investors, their financial professionals, money managers, employers, governments and policymakers. Under his leadership, the Center for Investor Insight has conducted more than 30 in-depth research studies since 2010, encompassing insights from more than 70,000 investors in 30+ countries. For more information, visit: https://www.im.natixis.com/us/research.

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