Female investors, as well as investors aged under 45, are the most satisfied with their financial advisers, according to the latest results of the Lifeplan ICFS Financial Advice Satisfaction index*, suggesting financial advisers are successfully implementing strategies to broaden their client base.
Lifeplan Funds Management undertakes the ICFS survey every six months with the University of Adelaide. It measures investors' attitudes to financial advisers including perceptions of trust and reliability, technical ability, and investment performance.
According to the latest survey, female investors have an improved perception of all three drivers, particularly technical ability. This is in contrast to the previous survey in October last year, when perceptions by female investors dipped noticeably across the board.
Perceptions by male investors have dropped slightly, continuing the trend from last year.
Matt Walsh, head of Lifeplan, said that it is unusual for male and female perceptions of financial advisers to diverge so substantially.
"While women tend to have a more positive view of their financial adviser than men do, in past surveys satisfaction levels between the genders have usually mirrored each other.
"This is the first time there has been such a dramatic divergence across all three drivers of satisfaction between female and male investors."
Mr Walsh said it is also interesting to note the satisfaction levels of younger investors have improved across all three drivers while older investors–particularly those aged over 60–are less happy with their financial adviser than in the last survey.
"Investors aged under 45 are more satisfied with the performance and the technical ability of their financial adviser than they were in October last year, a welcome improvement since satisfaction levels dropped noticeably in that survey. However, perceptions of trust and reliability are at around the same level as they were last year, for all age groups."
Mr Walsh said these results are a very encouraging sign for the financial advice profession.
"For the past few years, financial advisers have been made aware they must do more to broaden their client base. These results suggest that this advice has been acted on, and advisers are doing much better with clients outside their traditional demographic – that is, with female clients and younger clients.
"Perhaps one word of caution is they should be careful not to go too far in the opposite direction, and put their relationship with their older, more established clients at risk."
Mr Walsh said that older investors–those who have retired or who are about to–are more susceptible to market volatility and the low yields from bond markets.
"Older investors and those with the most to invest–usually the same group–are clearly seeking effective and appropriate strategies that can deal with market turmoil.
"The survey shows that there has been a decline in the satisfaction levels of this cohort with their financial adviser's technical ability.
"While this is not a cause for panic just yet, financial advisers should take heed of the warning that they must continue to fully communicate the strategies and approaches they are taking and ensure clients are comfortable with this," Mr Walsh said.
For previous years' results please visit
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 413 investors who use financial advisers was undertaken in March 2016 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.