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Wealthy Seek Holistic Advice --Yet Current Advisor Handles Less than Half of their Assets

By Hal M. Bundrick

NEW YORK (MainStreet)--Nine out ten wealthy investors want to work with an advisor who considers their entire financial picture, yet their current advisor handles just 43% of their assets. A new study released by Charles Schwab reports that one-third of respondents say their desire for investment advice has increased in the past year. That sound you hear? Financial advisors picking up the phone to call their clients.

Advice and the Affluent Investor: A Study of Attitudes and Behavior, surveyed more than 1,000 affluent Americans who receive some form of professional financial advice. Fully three-quarters of those surveyed said they are most confident making investment decisions when they collaborate with their investment professional, while one-third admitted they feel that same level of confidence when going it alone.

70% of those surveyed work with a single advisor and trust the individual (72%) more than the firm (42%) - while 10% trust no one.

"Regardless of how much and how deep the advice, today's affluent investors have one thing in common: they want a trusted expert on their side looking at the big picture on their behalf," says Bernie Clark, executive vice president and head of Schwab Advisor Services.

Additional highlights of the survey include:

  • 54% of all respondents prefer to pick and choose specific areas for which they will pay for advice, while 46% prefer to pay one fee for advice that addresses their entire portfolio.
  • 52% want a solution that has worked successfully for other people like themselves, while 48% want an investment professional who provides a custom solution for their unique situations.
  • 53% want to work with an investment professional who makes changes to their portfolios when they are needed -- based on the market and their needs -- while 47% prefer someone who lets them know when they should consider making changes to their portfolio, along with the rationale for those changes.
  • 72% say they just want someone who can answer simple questions about investment choices, and a similar number (70%) say they want to have access to a team of professional advisors with expertise in taxes and legal issues such as trusts and wills.
  • Half of the respondents said they feel investing is a chore, and only 11% identify themselves as advanced investors. More than two-thirds feel they have intermediate skills in investing while 21% identify themselves as having beginner skills.
  • While receiving advice and guidance from an advisor, most (59%) say they make all of their own decisions, while 38% preferred someone to make investment decisions for them "without getting very involved."

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick

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