Advisors are taking a glass-is-half-full view as they see a greater opportunity to strengthen client relationships after the financial crisis and subsequent recession, according to a new survey from MetLife.
The study shows that about 66% of the advisors say they spend more time proactively contacting their clients to discuss personal financial needs and goals. And 55% are spending more time meeting clients face-to-face to talk about matters extending beyond buying strategies.
“The strengthened relationship and intensified dialogue between advisors and clients …opens the door more widely for advisors to help clients with holistic planning,” said Robert Sollman, Jr., executive vice president of Retirement Products in a company release. “Financial advisors are doing their job, reaching out to clients who may waver between hope and fear as they see markets fluctuate,” Sollman said.
The best approach now, for advisors, is to strike the right balance between “protecting assets and growing them, based on individual needs and goals,” he says.
Julia Lennox, vice president, Retirement Products notes that advisors are seeking new ways to forge stronger relationships with the clients. “Approaches involve active responses to volatility, such as adding alternatives to portfolios and insurance-based products like annuities that focus on outcomes,” she said in an email.
MetLife conducted its research in conjunction with the Financial Planning Association. It polled more than 1,000 professionals in the field between late March and early April to investigate advisor-client relationships as well as retirement issues that impact high net worth clients.
The firm also drew on previous research to highlight discrepancies between boomers and advisors on retirement. Advisors say that clients’ top three retirement risks are: not being able to retire when they want to (65%), seeing their retirement savings decline in value (57%), and losing job security (32%).
These two issues—protecting retirement savings and more client communication—are related. Boomer clients with $250,000 or more of investable assets are seeking ways to protect their current earnings rather than engaging in market gains, according to the survey. And in many cases, this has led to more client-advisor communication.
“The anxiety is definitely there, but what is needed is more education [for clients] on how to utilize products,” said Lennox.