Want to get advisors attention? Give them value add programs about Social Security benefits and strategies.

Also of interest: programs from product providers about generating income in a low interest rate environment, navigating compliance or regulatory requirements and allocating assets, according to the new report "Value Add Support to Financial Advisors" by Boston-based consulting and market research firm Practical Perspectives.

Aging baby boomers are driving the interest in social security, but so is the fact that fewer people will be able to rely on pensions for retirement income says Practical Perspectives president Howard Schneider.

"People are looking at social security more strategically," Schneider says, "and it's [a] heavily nuanced area with lots of layers. If you make the wrong decision it has significant implications for the future."


No matter what the topic, advisors want value add support "designed for client interaction" rather than just for internal use, the report found after surveying over 600 advisors.

"Advisors want material they can share with clients and prospects and help educate them," according to Schneider. "They want unbiased and objective information that is easy to implement and recognizes the diversity of an advisors' client base."

The good news for product providers is that advisors are increasingly valuing value add programs.

"Advisor satisfaction with the programs has increased this year, although there's plenty of room for improvement," Schneider says.

What's more, according to the report, "most advisors use value-add support and are reliant on these tools and capabilities in running their practice. More than 7 in 10 advisors (71%) are heavily or somewhat reliant on value add support."


But providers who aren't advisors' first choice may have a hard time breaking through.

Advisors are "far more likely to leverage value-add support from primary providers, defined as those firms with which they do the most business currently," the report states. Other providers "have a steep hill to climb to get advisors attention and get them to consider value add support," says Schneider.

Advisors cited American Funds, BlackRock and J.P. Morgan most frequently as providers of useful value add support.

Looking ahead, according to the report, advisors say they want continued "support related to developing new sources of clients and assets, managing portfolios in a challenging environment, running more efficient practices, and engaging more effectively with clients."

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