Byallaccounts, a data aggregation company for financial advisors, completed its survey, Traits of Successful Financial Advisors, in June 2013. The survey focuses on what “highly successful advisors” do differently to create superior growth. Of the 442 respondents, 86 were broker dealers, 83 were independent RIAs, 71 were independent broker dealers and 70 were financial planning firms. Eighty respondents, or roughly 20% were classified as “highly successful.”
Here are a few key findings that stand out about “highly successful” advisors:
- 58% of highly successful advisors had assets under management (AUM) growth of 16% or more over the last two years, compared to only 43% by all other advisors.
- 25% of highly successful advisors report an “extremely efficient” back office, more than twice the amount compared to all advisors.
- Consistently, 38% of highly successful advisors spent more time on client management, communication and service, while just 30% of all advisors spent their time on this functionality. The other top two functionalities were 23% on client acquisition for highly successful advisors and 18% on investment management compared to 17% by all advisors.
The survey covered the strengths of personal skills. The questions asked advisors to rate their strengths from one to five, with five being the highest. The highest scores came in at 57% with understanding clients’ needs, 38% analytical skills and 29% sales skills.
The survey also asked how advisors evaluate client satisfaction.
- 41% of highly successful advisors reported they conduct regular client surveys, while just 32% of all advisors complete regular surveys. This compares to 21% of highly successful advisors who indicated that they do not have a formal way to measure client satisfaction and 29% of all advisors saying they have no procedure in place.
The survey seemed to have some prejudice. First, 68% of all advisors use the rate of client retention to measure client satisfaction. This may just be timing in a good market or client inaction. Second, understanding clients’ needs as the highest among personal skills appears subjective and is not a response from the clients.
The takeaway for advisors is to focus on creating procedures in order for the back office to become efficient. With 25% of highly successful advisors reporting an “extremely efficient” back office (more than twice the amount compared to all advisors), this could be the reason for more of the successful advisors reporting asset growth above 16%. Highly successful advisors also spend more time on client management, community and service and are more likely to conduct client surveys.