Lifeplan survey underlines need for tailored advice

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The age, gender and wealth level of clients can make a significant difference to which services and assistance they value most from their financial adviser, according to the latest Lifeplan ICFS Financial Advice Satisfaction Index*.

The most recent survey, undertaken in October, shows that younger clients – those aged under 30 – are focused on wealth-building strategies, and rank the selection of fund managers and managed funds, as well as advice on regulations, most highly. On the other hand, those aged between 45 and 60, and over 60, are more interested in fees and charges, managing financial risk, and getting advice on retirement plans.

Matt Walsh

Matt Walsh, head of Lifeplan, said that these findings underline the importance for financial advisers of knowing their client and tailoring their approaches to suit.

“It’s perhaps surprising that younger clients – regardless of how much they have to invest – don’t rank details on fees and charges, or ability to negotiate these, highly in their list of priorities.

“Instead, they are far more interested in choosing the right fund manager or managed fund.

“It is in fact older investors who are focussed on fees and charges – even those with relatively substantial levels of wealth.”

Mr Walsh said that the survey also found that female clients are more risk-adverse than their male counterparts.

“Women ranked “management of financial risks” as their number 1 priority, while men placed it third.  Interestingly, male clients ranked “details on fees and charges” first, and “selecting fund managers” second, suggesting men are more focused on returns and rewards.

“For female clients, details on fees and charges came second, and “advice on tax strategies” ranked third, indicating a more cautious and risk-adverse approach to finances.

“Regardless of gender, those with less to invest – that is, less than $50,000 – said that tax strategies were their number one priority.

“This feedback could be very useful to financial advisers in helping clients prioritise their goals and build a strategy,” Mr Walsh said.

Overall, there was a slight decrease in the level of satisfaction that investors have with their financial advisers since the last survey in April 2014 (down 0.27 percent), coinciding with a sharp decline in equity markets.

“Traditionally, client satisfaction has closely followed the performance of the share market, and this survey is no exception,” said Mr Walsh.

“However it is heartening that the decrease was very slight, compared to a significant dip in the S&P/ASX 200, suggesting that clients are less affected by market performance than in the past.

“It seems that financial advisers are doing a good job in showing clients that they do more than just provide investment advice and assistance, and that the services they offer are independent of market and economic conditions.”

Click here to view the report.

Lifeplan Funds Management is a specialist business of Australian Unity Investments.  It is a market leader in investment and funeral bonds, and a leading provider of education investment funds.

* The survey of 407 investors who use financial advisers was undertaken in September by the University of Adelaide’s International Centre for Financial Services (ICFS) for Lifeplan, and sought feedback about the performance, trust and reliability, and technical ability of their financial adviser.


For more information please contact:

Matt Walsh – Phone: 08 8236 4706

27 November 2014