The study by the Financial Research Corporation and Horsesmouth found that 72% of respondents strongly agreed that AssetMark is focused on advisers. Other top scorers were Dimensional Fund Advisors (65%) and Russell Investments (62%), compared to the average firm score of 35%.
The survey analyzed the responses of 1,800 advisers, who evaluated firms’ focus on advisers and high-net-worth investors, quality of retirement solutions, branding and marketing strategies, and overall trustworthiness. Overall, the firms did not garner a lot of positive “strongly agrees’ in many areas, but advisers seemed satisfied with the service they receive from asset management firms.
The survey demonstrated a divergence of responses from advisers. “There really is no average adviser or average view going on in the marketplace,’ Bill Nicklin, CEO of Horsesmouth told PLANADVISER.com.
But even the myriad of responses demonstrate that advisers put an importance on provider relationships.
“Just like investors look to advisers for a trusted long-term partner, that’s the same thing that advisers are looking to for their wholesalers and the firms that they work with,’ Nicklin said. “There are firms that on a consistent basis are spending time and resources on advisers to help them build their business, and are really focused on helping advisers do their business better, as opposed to simply pushing new products.’
He also points out that some firms might be trying to be adviser-focused, but just are not going about it in the right way. “Part of what we tried to do in all of that research is bring forth a solid in-depth look at what advisers want and how they want it,’ Nicklin said.
Retirement solutions are increasingly important for advisers, but most advisers do not “strongly agree’ that any particular firm is known for its retirement solutions (but 84% at least “somewhat agree’). Of the responses, the top firms for retirement solutions in the report were: GE Asset Management, Waddell & Reed, Principal Financial, Jackson National, and Prudential/Skandia.
Although only one-third of advisers surveyed strongly agreed that the firm in their portfolio focused on them, most (88%) would somewhat or strongly agree. The report says the top five firms that advisers considered focused on them were: AssetMark, Dimensional Fund Advisors, Russell, Waddell & Reed, and GE Asset Management.