PITTSBURGH, Jan. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Learning about fiduciary best practices can be instrumental in helping financial advisors hone their craft, build client trust, and raise assets, according to a recent survey conducted by fi360, an organization that provides training programs and software to help clients gather, grow, and protect assets through better investment and business decision-making.
Nearly three-quarters (71%) of the roughly 180 surveyed advisors reported that their education around the fiduciary standard has helped them become better practitioners. In addition, 48% said it created a greater sense of trustworthiness with clients, and 31% said it enhanced their reputations.
Approximately four in five advisors (78%) originally decided to pursue the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) and Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst (AIFA®) designations to further their professional development. The two designations are intended to provide recipients with the knowledge and tools to administer a prudent investment process grounded in industry best practices.
Close to 60% of respondents said their AUM or AUA increased "significantly" or "somewhat" within a year after receiving the AIF or AIFA designation. More than a third (36%) attributed those changes directly to the designation. Other leading factors for asset increase include the economy (51%) and clients' financial situations (44%).
According to one respondent, "The end results are that your practice runs more efficiently, errors are reduced, and client outcomes are improved." Others stated that the designations provide "industry credibility" and "more confidence to service my clients knowing that I am following not only prudent practices but best-in-class procedures."
Looking ahead to 2015, surveyed financial advisors reported their top goals for the year include increasing the size of their client base (57%), increasing the size of their typical accounts (46%), and ramping up marketing efforts, such as advertising and public relations (39%). More than three in five advisors (62%) said that they would like to serve more retirement plans, and 47% will aim to serve more wealthy individuals and families.
Advisors ranked new business development as their biggest challenge for 2015, followed by marketing, client relationship management, compliance and regulation, and succession planning, in descending order.
"Advisors are constantly and rigorously searching for ways to grow their businesses, whether by expanding their client base or serving more corporate retirement plans," said Blaine Aikin, CEO of fi360. "This study helps illustrate that educated advisors who understand fiduciary best practices are better positioned to realize this growth, raise tangible assets, and meet their top challenges."
About the Survey
The results of this survey were compiled from a randomized selection of fi360's clients, all of whom are financial advisors with the AIF® and/or AIFA® designations. The survey was conducted online in November and December of 2014.
fi360 helps its clients gather, grow, and protect assets through better investment and business decision-making. Since 1999, fi360 has been providing innovate solutions to financial services providers, including the AIF® and AIFA® designation programs, the fi360 Toolkit™ software, and fi360 Fiduciary Score®. With extensive education, certification, software, and practice management offerings, fi360 is a one-stop shop equipped to provide individuals and organizations with the training, tools, and resources necessary to become more successful. To learn more, visit www.fi360.com.