Instead of comparing clients to a benchmark, investors want their advisors to assess performance based on specific goals, according to Catherine McBreen, president of the Millionaire Corner a research organization focused on understanding investor decision-making.
Here are a handful of other important tips that McBreen says will keep clients happier.
1. Periodic and continuous contact: Investors want their advisors to reach out to them frequently regarding what is happening in the markets and why it may or may not apply to them. "They don't want an in-depth investment analysis, they just want to know if something affects them or not," she says. "For example, advisors should let clients know whether they need to worry about what is going on with bonds right now." In other words, the more an advisor reaches out, the more client satisfaction increases. That doesn't mean a detailed phone call. It could be an email or some other communication. Just not a product push.
2. Alternative assets: Clients want to talk with their advisors about alternative assets anything not invested in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds -- as well as their equity portfolios. Real estate is becoming a hot topic. Make sure discussions include a holistic approach to investments.
3. Holistic vs. investment expert: Advisors need to decide if they are "holistic" advisors or just investment experts, McBreen says. It may be that an advisor knows everything about derivatives and that is all he or she wants to discuss with that investor. The investor, however, wants at least one advisor who speaks with them about "life" issues. How are they going to develop an income stream in retirement? What are they going to do if there is a health crisis? These are the key worries for investors.
4. Market skittishness: While investors have been increasingly confident, they are more skittish than before about the economic crisis. "Anticipate that they will be more likely to want to pull back from certain investments or re-allocate quickly if they feel the economy or markets may be crashing," she cautions.
5. Assess client involvement: Investors are weary of worrying about their portfolios and are more likely to be turning to advisors for advice. After spending several years of closely watching their investments, they are less interested in the process than in recent years. "The wealthier they may be, however, the more interested they are in their portfolios and the more demanding they might be," according to McBreen.
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