A decline in satisfaction with their employers going back two years appears to be shifting among financial advisers.
After a drop in perceptions from 2007 to 2008, financial advisers' sentiment regarding their firms has stabilized in 2010, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Financial Advisor Satisfaction Study. It measured the satisfaction of both employee advisers, which are those who are employed by their investment services firm, and independent advisers or those who are affiliated with a broker-dealer but operate independently.
The findings revealed adviser perceptions of their firm's financial stability have improved, most notably among employees of wirehouse firms and independent advisers. Perceptions of financial stability of wirehouses have improved to 5.4 on a seven-point scale in 2010 from 4.6 in 2008. While advisers' perceptions of the financial stability of independent firms have improved to 6.3 in 2010 from 6.0 in 2008, they still trail those of advisers of non-wirehouse firms (6.5 in 2010).
The study examined eight drivers of employee adviser satisfaction: firm performance, compensation, work environment, products/offerings, technology, job duties, contact and people.
Advisers felt providing dedicated compliance support, software programs that are aligned with daily workflow processes, and same-day contact from IT support would help them work better with their clients. Independent advisers suggested adjusting their workload so that only 15% or less of a typical week is spent on compliance-related tasks such as paperwork, and providing completely integrated software programs.
"Fundamentally, the firms that maximize the amount of time advisors spend with clients and minimize the time they spend on administrative tasks benefit from high levels of advisor satisfaction, which translates into high retention and retained assets under management and production," said David Lo, director of investment services at J.D. Power.