News article

10 important lessons all financial advisers and planners can learn from our client survey results

A client survey gives you a huge amount of information that will help improve your marketing and your business.

We’ve run dozens of client surveys on behalf of advice and planning firms over the past few years. The responses have given us a treasure trove of data, which we’ve started to analyse. We’re delighted that we can now share some of the key lessons with you.

The results are based on the opinions of 3,145 people. It’s also important to note that the firms we work with don’t cherry-pick who the surveys are sent to.

There’s plenty of good news and lots to learn, too. So, grab your beverage of choice, sit back, and have a read.

A note for journalists who might be reading this: we’re passionate about promoting the benefits of financial planning, so please email if you’d like access to our data.

1. Clients get huge value from working with their financial adviser/planner

98.12% of clients said that working with their adviser/planner has, or will in the future, help them to achieve their objectives.

2. The vast majority of clients are happy to recommend their financial adviser/planner to other people

95.69% of clients said they would recommend their adviser/planner to other people.

Coupled with the first point, it’s clear that the overwhelming majority of clients are happy with the service they receive from their adviser/planner.

Keep reading to #7 where we reveal the referral problem.

3. Most people who take advice are over the age of 55

84.29% of the people who responded to the survey were over 55. That includes 69.46% of people who were either in the glide path to retirement (55-64) or probably in the early stages of retirement (65-74).

That’s probably not going to come as a huge surprise. However, it’s clear that there’s still a huge opportunity for advisers and planners to build and communicate propositions for younger audiences.

4. There are many things clients value above investment management

When asked how they measure the value they receive from their adviser/planner only 1 in 10 (10.66%) said the value of their investments.

Other factors that were more important include:

  • Knowing they have a go-to person for their financial affairs
  • An increased sense of financial security
  • Making progress towards their objectives.

We also asked clients to name the biggest benefit they get from working with their adviser/planner. Three words are repeated time and time again: “peace of mind”. It’s clear to us where the real value of financial planning lies.

5. Paul Armson is right (but you didn’t need us to tell you that, right?)

When we asked people who hadn’t yet retired about their biggest financial concerns the most popular answers were: “not having enough money to retire at my preferred retirement age” and “not having enough money to live my preferred lifestyle in retirement.”

For clients who had already retired, it was a similar story with “not having enough money to live their preferred lifestyle” being the most popular answer.

6. Facebook can’t be ignored, but Twitter can be

Hopefully, we can finally put the “my clients don’t use Facebook” myth to bed.

Our analysis shows that 2 in 5 (39.80%) count Facebook as their number one social media platform and use it regularly (at least once per week).

However, fewer than 1 in 10 (8.14%) see Twitter as their main social media account. That explains why so few advisers/planners ever generate a meaningful number of new enquiries from there.

7. Most clients aren’t regular referrers

We all know that a referral from an existing client is the best type of new enquiry (they have the highest conversion rate and the lowest cost of acquisition).

Despite that, only 3 out of 10 (35.73%) clients said they’ve recommended their adviser/planner to someone else in the past year.

It’s clear that we all need to focus on the basics, rather than being distracted by shiny marketing tactics, if we’re going to convert the 95.69% of clients who said they would recommend into people who regularly do so.

8. Incentives (probably) don’t solve the referral problem

Only 1 in 20 people (5.23%) said that an incentive would encourage clients to refer their adviser/planner to other people.

Despite that, we’ve seen several firms run successful incentive programmes. So, for once, the theory might not be supported by the reality on the ground.

9. Covid communications hit the mark

Back at the start of the Covid crisis clients looked to their financial adviser/planner for a mixture of confidence, reassurance, and information. Our survey results show that, for the most part, that was delivered.

When we asked how satisfied clients were with their adviser/planner’s communication during the pandemic, 69.48% said they were “very satisfied” and 28.89% reported being “satisfied”.

10. Communicating was the right thing to do

We know that some advisers and planners didn’t feel the need to communicate with their clients at the start of the pandemic. At the time we said that was a mistake and our analysis supports that view.

Fewer than 1 in 10 (8.23%) said they had no concerns about the effect the pandemic (and resulting stock market volatility) would have on their investments. To put it another way, 9 out of 10 were concerned to some degree. How did those people react if their adviser/planner went AWOL?

We all know that stock market volatility is inevitable. These results show that well-timed and targeted communications provide much-needed reassurance.

There’s more to come

We passionately believe that financial planning changes lives, so we want to use the data from our client survey to help planners connect with more consumers. Over the
next few weeks keep an eye out for:

  • A free infographic demonstrating the value of financial planning which we’ll make available to all Yardstick clients
  • A free webinar revealing all the results and how to run effective client surveys
  • If we’ve previously run your client survey, a document showing how your results compare to the benchmarks we’ve created.

If you’d like to know more about the benefits of client surveys, feel free to get in touch by emailing or calling 0115 8965 300.


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