I am also 100% happy with all of this for a very simple reason:
My good advisor helps me get the results I want.
This isn’t about an investment performance result, as the advisor cannot substantially influence that in my view. Nor is it about me getting cheap insurance; in fact; my insurance is actually bloody expensive. What makes my advisor a good advisor is that she spends the time understanding what I want to achieve; is excellent at understanding where the gap is between her competencies and mine; is willing to say the things that need to be said (whether I want to hear them or not); and she remains utterly objective and focussed on my goals, not hers.
A good advisor is in fact a good coach.
A good advisor helps me get the results…the advisor doesn’t actually get the results at all. The advisor helps me work what actions are required for me to take that will most likely lead to the outcomes I want. At the end of the day…I actually have to do the stuff. I have to play the game. The coach’s job is to maintain a strategic overview of the game, and then deliver the plan that will get me the win.
As an industry we perhaps need to begin thinking about explaining our purpose, competencies and functions in coaching terms. The advisor’s designations, remuneration models, business affiliations and philosophies are indeed points of differentiation from other advisors. It is appropriate to assess hiring an advisor after taking such things into consideration, as different consumers will place different emphasis upon these factors….though over-riding everything is the customers level of trust in the individual advisor.
Perhaps the best way to highlight whether an advisor is good or bad is to focus therefore on two core issues that go to the heart of what most consumers are wanting:
1. Demonstrable trust (that is; behaviour and actions which reinforce a customers assessment of trustworthiness)
2. The coaching skills of advisors
Good financial advisors create positive changes in client lives because of their coaching skills, and because clients can trust them with their dreams.
That is a story worth telling, and one which the public at large is willing to listen to.