May 2014: Client Review Resources

The May 2014 Advisor Monitor examines the breadth and effectiveness of client review meeting materials. Our analysis features only nine Mutual Fund Monitor – Advisor firms, as most firms in our regular coverage group did not offer relevant content. Specifically, our research focuses on the following qualities:

  • Accessibility & Location
  • Format
  • Content Attributes

We last addressed this topic in August 2012, and since that time one firm actually removed its client review materials, leaving only nine firms in our current study that offer such materials. We awarded two As to firms for their strong devotion to the subject, followed by five Bs and Cs, for firms whose client review content was generally harder to locate and lighter in detail, respectively.

 

Of the firms that do provide client review resources, we found a healthy variety of content that helps advisors to plan, execute and follow up on client meetings in myriad ways. Seven of nine firms offer thorough, step-by-step guides to the review process. Five firms offer worksheets and checklists for advisors to use during the meeting itself, usually as a means to track progress, take notes and keep the meeting on-focus. Four firms occasionally publish new commentary and thought leadership discussing the best practices of client meeting planning, which help advisors better approach their own clients’ needs.

 

None of the firms surveyed, however, promoted client review content on their homepages; only 44% feature a fixed site location for client review content – primarily the literature ordering system. On sites without a centralized outlet, we had to search for materials using the singular search term “client review,” which resulted in differing degrees of usability and results quality.

We uncovered the following key findings in our analysis:

  • Only 47% of firms offer client review materials
  • No firms promote this content prominently
  • Only one firm offers easy access through homepage main menu
  • 56% of offer worksheets
  • Only two firms offer invitation letters and postcards
  • 67% address life events planning; 22% address market volatility