Good relationships are built on trust and communication. While this rings true for how you interact with your significant other, it also applies to your relationship with your financial advisor. The recent volatility in the market put relationships between advisors and their clients to the test. Under such unpredictable market conditions, it’s an advisor’s duty to contact his or her clients to check in and discuss what’s happening with their portfolios. Unfortunately, some advisors don’t ever do this. I’ve heard of advisors who just hope the news blows over and steer clear of contacting their clients. Others even go so far as to dodge calls, hiding from their clients at a time when they are simply seeking information and reassurance. This kind of behavior is unacceptable; financial advisors should be helping their clients, not hiding from them.
Whether it is to discuss market volatility, get an update on how the family is doing, or just say “hi”, advisors should be proactively reaching out to their clients on a regular basis. It all goes back to the adage of treating others as you would like to be treated. If an advisor is unsure whether to call a client, for whatever reason, he should put himself in the client’s shoes. If I kept hearing bad news about the markets, as a client, I would want my advisor to call me and walk me through what’s going on. Granted, the media uses scare tactics to gain viewership, but it’s the advisor’s job to keep an open dialogue with clients and filter fact from conjecture.
Financial representatives should also be able to convey information to clients in a way that is transparent and easily understood — on a regular basis. Most clients want their advisor to contact them at least a few times per year. Yet I’ve witnessed advisors giving investment advice to a client once and then never calling that client again. Financial planning is not something you can just “set and forget.” Investment advice needs to be adjusted as clients’ lives change. In addition to meeting annually, it’s a good idea to contact clients when a significant life event or breaking news occurs, like purchasing a new home or getting married. This is all part of the financial planning process, which includes discussing and setting goals. It’s important to keep in mind that clients’ lives are directly affected by how their investments are handled.
Bottom line is, some relationships are meant to end. If your advisor isn’t communicating with you as often as you’d like, it may be time to find a new one. For more information on what sets Twelve Points apart and how we communicate with our clients, contact us.