What do Investors Really Want in a Financial Professional?

Marc Alley, Head of Market Research
August 15, 2018

The economy is always moving forward, home prices are up and unemployment is at its lowest in decades, yet Americans still worry about topics like whether they’ve saved enough for retirement and how to predict how much they will need to set aside for future medical costs. According to an Ipsos study, more than half of households with greater than $250,000 in annual income said they either definitely agree or tend to agree that they are very worried about the economy.1

Experienced, reassuring financial advisors will be needed to calm their angst, and the industry is already growing to meet that need. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that financial advisors are one of the 30 fastest‑growing careers and expects a 30 percent employment increase in 2018.2 However, competition for the best jobs and best investor clients will be fierce.

1st Global performed a study to provide insight as to who is poised to have the most meaningful relationships with clients. The Investors, CPAs and Tax-focused Financial Advice study found a clear answer: Financial professionals with empathy, client-focus and tax advice are most poised to win.

Financial professionals with these attributes are most likely to garner the most profitable and loyal client bases: clients who show their appreciation of these relationships with in‑person face time.

Affluent investors value face-to-face discussions with financial professionals. The 1st Global study found that 57 percent of respondents felt it was very or extremely important to have a trusted professional meeting in person, while less than a quarter felt that it was slightly or not at all important.

Source: 1st Global, Investors, CPAs and Tax-focused Financial Advice

Investors have a strong desire to interact meaningfully with someone they trust — advisors who show genuine empathy and emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is an underrated yet critical attribute for a successful financial professional who gives advice to wealthy individuals.

Therefore, any marketing or client acquisition strategy must build relationships on trust to ultimately triumph over ever‑increasing digital interactions and information. This attribute may or may not be the ultimate way to attract wealthy clients, but it is the only way to retain them long‑term.

For more information on the types of advice, interactions and financial professionals emerging affluent and affluent investors seek, read the full report.

The study was facilitated by PopResearch and the 300 respondents were members of the Critical Mix U.S. Luxury Panel. Respondents were required to have at least $150,000 of investable assets to be qualified to participate.


1 Ipsos Affluent Intelligence, The Affluent Outlook 2018: Affluents in the Age of Polarity

2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook and Career Guide to Industries

3Financial Planning, “How to Increase Client Satisfaction”

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