Cheating on a financial advisor is a known, but frowned-upon client practice. But new research says that it has been gaining traction among high-net-worth households since the market turmoil began in 2008, with many clients bolstering their stable of advisors. The report also suggests that when markets calm down, those same customers, weary of managing so many relationships, will pare the number down. But what does an advisor need to know to be the last one left standing?

The headline from a Cerulli Associates report would strike dread in the heart of any financial advisor: "Are Clients Two-Timing Advisors?" It outlines, in sad detail, how relationships that advisors painstakingly built were undermined by a lack of trust during the market downturn. Nervous investors second-guessed everything, and sought out the opinions of additional advisors. The most extreme statistic in the report: almost 30% of households with more than $5 million to invest are using four or more advisory relationships.

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