Survey Says That Over 95% of Financial Advisors Agree That The Link to Growing Their Business is Delivering a Deeper Client Experience: Univeris

Research showed a positive difference of over $20 million in assets under administration for advisors engaged in a defined service offering with clients

Toronto, ON � October 3, 2008 – “Today, having satisfied clients isn�t enough for financial advisors to increase share of wallet or to get referrals from present clients,” said Carmine Tullio, President and CEO, Univeris. “Research shows that the key to an advisor growing their practice is an organized and formal system of client management. Also, there appears to be a clear gap,” said Tullio, “between the importance an advisor places on service delivery and what they are actually delivering against the client�s goals. It is this gap in service delivery which runs the risk in which the “seeds of doubt” could be planted in a client�s mind, and potentially question whether they stay or go to another advisor.” The survey was conducted by Advisor Impact in June, 2008 for Univeris, with responses from 1088 financial advisors, to understand myth versus reality in what works for advisors when managing and growing client relationships.

“Advisors clearly link delivering a strong client experience with growing the business through referrals,” said Julie Littlechild, President, Advisor Impact. “As a result, advisors need to take their business fundamentals seriously. To gain insight into what more client-centric advisors are doing differently, we looked at a sub-segment of advisors who were more successful in meeting service goals, more effective in optimizing existing client relationships and, as a result, ran larger businesses. This group, known as high contact advisors, is primarily defined by the fact that they are meeting service goals with a much higher percentage of clients. For example, the survey results showed that high contact advisors said they were meeting goals for 95% of their clients, compared to only 26% in the lowest contact category. The research showed that those advisors, who knew their ideal client, set high service standards supported by process and automation, had the bigger book of business.”

Also, the research showed that the high contact advisors were the most profitable, had fewer clients, met with them more frequently and on average had $52m in AUM. This more profitable business model compared to those advisors who had more clients, met with or contacted them less frequently or not at all and on average had $32m in AUM. It was the high contact advisors, those who were meeting their own strategy, who felt they were optimizing the client experience and getting more value from the client.
Added Littlechild, “Through our research we have created a clear roadmap for advisors to improve the client experience and drive practice success. This strategy starts with knowing your ideal client and providing a defined service offering. Over 90% of the high contact advisors had a definition of their ideal client and showed that it drove the effectiveness of their business versus 78% of all advisors surveyed. From there, the most successful advisors clearly communicate service standards in order to manage expectations and that appears as important as the delivery itself.”

When asked about those tactics that would have the biggest positive impact on their businesses, advisors pointed to: understand more about what clients need, want and expect (60% want a more formal process to gather feedback), gather more and better information on clients and prospects (51% want standardized process to track changes in clients� lives, 49% want standardized prospect profile, 45% want process to update client data/information) and communicate value more effectively (48% want a more structured service agreement and 45% want to standardize a letter of engagement).

Said Tullio, “Those high contact advisors, who had a larger book of business improved the delivery of service by having a team in place and a series of standardized processes. The research showed that high contact advisors were 14% more likely to have a specific process for setting formal portfolio analysis and a review meeting with clients compared to all advisors. This process underscores the importance and impact of holding a structured review meeting with clients.

“The need for clear and consistent communications between an advisor and their client emerged as a common theme from the research,” said Tullio. “If advisors take the time to define and communicate service parameters with their clients, then clients know what to expect and when to expect it. This is a preemptive and proactive strike against other advisors who may be either poaching clients or planting the seeds of doubt in the client�s mind.”

Added Tullio, “The stronger the commitment and engagement is with the client, the more the advisor is able to build their business, cross pollinate and work with other client family members. In these turbulent financial times, this survey�s results underline the need even more for advisors to be engaged with their clients to keep their book of business, much less grow it.”

About the Survey: Univeris retained Advisor Impact in spring, 2008 to conduct an on-line study of financial advisors to find out how advisors manage and grow their client relationships. The study was fielded in June, 2008. Responses were from 1088 Canadian financial advisors. The margin of error is +/- 3% and includes an equal representation across MFDA and IIROC advisors.

About Univeris

Univeris, headquartered in Toronto, Canada, is a privately held company and is the leader in enterprise wealth management for the Canadian market. Founded in 1991, Univeris has over 75 staff and over 20 major financial services clients across Canada representing over 16,000 advisors with over CDN $70 billion in mutual fund assets under administration. Univeris offers the most comprehensive enterprise wealth management platform with fully integrated back office operations, compliance and front office practice management for financial advisors. The corporate website is