Several months ago, I came across a study regarding the gap between services expected and services received by clients of financial advisors. I will say that the results were somewhat concerning. With a variety of different types of advisory practices, it is likely safe to say that not all advisors offer an identical set of services.
The study, conducted by Spectrem Group found that after “Investment Management”, there was a significant drop off from what participants in the survey received versus what they expected. You can find the link to the research here.
As an advisor, the survey gave me pause to consider what services my clients expect and what they feel they are receiving. I also took some time after reviewing the service categories to recall what services I have delivered to clients recently.
Of course, not all client situations require all of the categories listed all at the same time, or in the same year. For instance, I offer tax planning (with coordination with their tax preparer) for all clients willing to share their most recent tax return. I also connect clients with estate planning resources to create (or update) their estate plan. Many clients have approached me regarding advice regarding insurance (life, health, disability, LTC).
When we revisit the survey, we can see that 92% of survey respondents expected tax planning advice, however, only 25% reporting having received that advice. For estate planning, the expected was 93% and 22% received. The survey split insurance between several of their own categories. Life Insurance was 82% vs 12%. Long Term Care Insurance was 83% vs 14%, and Health Insurance was 65% vs 4%.
We could review the entire graphic category by category, but I think you get the point so far. In fact, one that stands out is real estate advice. The gap was 76% expected and only 3% received. Last year, a client was considering a sale of some farm real estate and posed some questions to me. I offered my thoughts and potential considerations, however, most importantly (I think) I asked questions that I felt the client should ask the professionals helping complete the transaction.
If you are unsure if your advisor offers a particular service, you should ask. Consider what services are most important to you and confirm your advisor offers the services you are expecting.