Most advisors are stating a value proposition somewhere in their marketing materials and digital presence—but they’re probably not doing so effectively, according to “Advisor Value Propositions: How Advisors Showcase Their Value—and What Investors Secretly Think,” a recent report from BNY Mellon’s Pershing.

According to Pershing, many advisors lack one or more of the four most important components of a value proposition: the attributes of the firm, the benefits to the client, a rational argument and an emotional component.

Pershing conducted a survey of more than 1,000 investors with at least $1 million in net worth, finding that advisors aren’t being effective at making their value propositions clear to prospective clients—more than two-thirds of the survey respondents, 63 percent, believe that all advisors make the same promises to clients and prospects.

When Pershing mined information off of advisor websites, it found that most firms’ value propositions concentrated on the firms themselves, discussing the business and revenue model of the firm, the investment management style and the type of services available to clients. The most popular theme among all of the advisor websites researched was “comprehensive portfolio management.”

Pershing’s survey found that the most desirable themes in a value proposition included the offering of tailored or bespoke solutions; the firm’s adherence to a fiduciary standard; and its assurances of trust, integrity and accountability. However, since these themes already appear on most advisors’ websites, they’re not enough to differentiate one advisor or firm from its competition.

When high-net-worth investors were asked if financial advisors truly work in their clients’ best interest, the responses were split almost 50-50, with 48 percent of respondents believing that advisors often render advice that is more profitable to the firm rather than recommendations that are in the clients’ best interest.

According to Pershing, advisors need to more clearly articulate who they are, what their skills and specializations are, and their vision for their firms, then differentiate themselves by speaking directly to their niche.

For example, a common theme among the respondents in Pershing’s investor survey was that, by themselves, financial planning and investing were not that important. Instead, the respondents were more likely to desire lifestyle planning aimed at maximizing their current and potential happiness. Nearly three-quarters of high-net-worth respondents sought financial advice that reflected goals beyond their personal finances.

From a website and marketing materials, niche clients should be able to understand exactly how an advisor’s services will benefit them. Firms should also identify their ideal clients and communicate a general understanding of the clientele’s concerns, according to Pershing.

Yet the survey respondents indicated that advisors targeting some potential niche value propositions, such as planning around life events like marriage, divorce and inheritance, or emphasizing community service, or offering services tailored to business owners, were not effective in attracting the respondents’ interest.

An advisory firm’s materials should also make a persuasive emotional argument to motivate prospects to choose it, according to the report. Pershing argues that advisors spend too much time touting their services and expertise and not enough time discussing how they can help protect and preserve a client’s wealth.

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