By Hal M. Bundrick
NEW YORK (MainStreet) ¿ Wealthy investors are increasingly seeking professional guidance in money matters, with 82% of millionaires using a financial advisor in 2013, up 4% from last year. A Spectrem study of affluent households reveals that more than one-third (35%) of all affluent households surveyed admit that have worked more with an advisor in the last two years than in previous years. Fallout from the financial crisis is one reason why.
And regardless of the potential conflicts of interest, most of the wealthy investors surveyed still lean on full service brokers (35%) rather than independent financial planners (18%). Wells Fargo was the leading financial services provider of those surveyed, with an 8% share of investors, replacing Fidelity in the top spot, which tied with Morgan Stanley in second place, both with 7%. Bank of America-Merrill Lynch garnered 6% of affluent households' business and Edward Jones had 5%.
Younger investors prefer UBS and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch with an 8% market share of consumers aged 44 and younger. Middle aged millionaires 45-54 favor using Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (11%) while Fidelity is preferred by most (9%) senior investors aged 55-64. There is a distinct shift in advisor preference among younger millionaires, 44 years of age and younger. Rather than seeking a broker, these wealthy investors prefer guidance from an accountant (29%). Full service brokers still account for 28% of the advisors for younger investors, while 22% look to independent financial planners.
But some wealthy investors still remain independent and prefer to manage their investments solo, as 18% of all ages of millionaires surveyed do not use an advisor at all.
The study gathered opinions and satisfaction ratings of investors with a net worth of between $1 million and $5 million, excluding their primary residence.
Regardless of the type of financial consultant they choose, overall advisor satisfaction among millionaires is up from 70% in 2011 to 73% in 2013. But among younger investors, satisfaction is just 62%, more than 10 points below the average.
--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet