Investors Want Responsive and Transparent Advisers

Ninety percent of investors say being able to resolve problems and answer questions quickly are critical characteristics of consumer-focused financial advisers, according to a John Hancock survey.

Investors polled for the second quarter 2014 edition the John Hancock Investor Sentiment Survey said only about four in 10 (38%) financial services companies deliver both speedy problem solving and high levels of responsiveness to client questions. The same sample of investors said that overall, about 49% of companies are genuinely consumer-focused—i.e., able to deliver features like individualized client servicing and 24/7 support.  

“Consumers consistently express the desire for companies to focus on their needs, yet the perception is low that companies actually accomplish this,” explains Oscar Gonzalez, a John Hancock economist. “This disconnect is something that all companies concerned about the health of their businesses should monitor.”

A vast majority of investors (87%) also said transparency in fees and expenses (87%), as well as the presence of customer services representatives who are friendly and knowledgeable (84%), are very important in defining a financial services company as consumer-focused. Next in order of importance in are the availability of easy-to-read and accurate statements/bills and the client’s ability to reach a live representative easily, each at 81%.

Other investors say consumer-focused financial services companies must make investment materials available in simpler language (76%) and grant clients access to a user-friendly digital tools and websites (70%). When asked to rank other major attributes of a consumer-focused financial services company, investors also noted the following:

  • Offers creative solutions to problems (62%);
  • Offers the ability to do business online (58%);
  • Makes regular, in-person meetings with representatives and advisers available (49%);
  • Maintains nearby physical office locations (38%); and
  • Offers online or call center help around the clock (44%).

John Hancock’s Investor Sentiment Survey is a quarterly poll of affluent investors. A total of 1,107 investors were surveyed from May 12 to May 23. To qualify, respondents were required to participate at least to some extent in their household’s financial decision-making process, have a household income of at least $75,000, and assets of $100,000 or more.

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