20 Mar What do clients really value?
“Anything that just costs money is cheap.”
― John Steinbeck
Last year, Dimensional Fund Advisers carried out a global survey of the clients of the financial planning firms with which it works. We asked our clients to take part in the (anonymous) survey and we are very grateful that the majority agreed to do so.
The largest of its kind ever carried out on a global basis, the survey was designed to determine – amongst other things – what clients value most from their relationship with their financial planner, the services they provide and about how those clients measure the value they receive.
The results made for interesting reading.
A total of just under 19,000 clients from around the world took part in the survey. Globally, 60% of respondents were male, and 40% female. Amongst our clients, 78% of respondents were male and 22% female.
In answer to the statement ‘From the following, choose the attribute you consider most important in your adviser relationship’, the results from our clients were as follows (global results are given in brackets):
Client service experience 33% (31%)
Experience with clients like me 30% (26%)
Investment returns 27% (32%)
Range of services 7% (6%)
Fees & expenses 3% (4%)
In answer to the question ‘How do you primarily measure the value received from your adviser?’, our clients responded as follows:
Sense of security, peace of mind 60% (35%)
Progress towards my goals 20% (20%)
Knowledge of my personal financial situation 13% (23%)
Investment returns 7% (14%)
Interesting isn’t it? The survey – for us – confirmed what we had always believed to be the case: clients measure the value they receive in terms of the more intangible aspects of our relationship with them far more than they do their investment returns and the range of services that we provide.
These results absolutely reflected what we experience when we meet with our clients at their regular review meetings. The amount of time we spend talking about their investment portfolio? Minimal. The amount of time we spend talking about them, what’s going on in their lives and the progress they are making towards their goals? That makes up the vast majority of the time.
“You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour. “