What can be done to secure 'one-off' clients for the long term?

More than a third of ‘mass affluent’ clients are seeking financial advice only on one occasion

Some startling statistics have been released across the Atlantic that ring a familiar tune to Canadian financial planners too.

A survey by BlackRock in the UK has revealed that of the 4,000 mass affluent individuals interviewed, more than a third had sought financial advice in the past but were no longer doing so as it appears many were only seeking assistance with one off events.

Mallory Greene, community development manager for WealthSimple, is not surprised by the statistics.

“I think the majority of affluent investors are simply looking for advice when they’re reaching certain financial milestones like buying a house/cottage, getting married, starting a family, taking a trip,” she said.

Randy Cass, founder and portfolio manager of Nest Wealth, believes that it is an industry-wide problem.  

“I think a lot of affluent investors would benefit from holistic advice but don’t see the logic in paying a percentage of their assets for said advice,” he said. “That means the problem isn’t with the product as much as it’s with the way that this product has traditionally been priced.”

So what can be done to keep one-off clients for the long term? Mallory Greene believes that a three-step approach is needed.

“Firstly, think about fees,” she said. “Financial advice typically comes with an additional cost. Paying an annual fee with no additional cost when you need advice would probably keep clients longer term.

“Secondly, be transparent. People want to speak to a financial planner that’s working in their best interests, without incentives to sell you more services/products. And finally, be accessible. Phone calls aren’t always accessible. Allow clients to email, call, text or even Skype when they want to chat about their account.”

The statistics clearly show that people see the value in taking out financial advice – now it’s up to the advisors to show these same clients that they would benefit from assistance in the long-term.