Financial markets are too complicated to navigate without an advisor, say the vast majority of affluent investors. That’s just one of the many pieces of good news that advisors will find in a new study from Charles Schwab.

Three in four of the more than 1,000 affluent Americans surveyed said that they are most confident making investment decisions when they collaborate with their investment professional. One-third said their desire for investment advice has increased in the past year.

Most were humble about their investment skills, with 68% describing themselves intermediate investors and 21% seeing themselves as beginners. About two in five (41%) said they were much more involved in their investments in 2013 than they were in 2012, even though half viewed investing as a chore.

“These investors may lack the experience and appetite to fully tackle the task at hand, but they absolutely understand that investing is a job that needs to be done and they do not want to go it alone,” Bernie Clark, executive vice president and head of Schwab Advisor Services, said in a statement.

Of those who worked with a single advisor (70%), nine in 10 said they wanted to work with someone who looked at their entire financial picture. On average, their advisors handled 43% of their assets, according to the findings.

“Regardless of how much and how deep the advice, today’s affluent investors have one thing in common: they want a trusted expert on their side looking at the big picture on their behalf,” Clark said.

Even though all the respondents received some form of professional financial advice, almost six in 10 (59%) said they make all their own decisions. About two in five (38%) said their advisors made their investment decisions for them without getting very involved.

Affluent advice-seekers were split on what they want from their advisors, the study found. For example, some (54%) said they prefer to pick and choose specific areas for which they will pay for advice, while others (46%) preferred to pay one fee for advice that addresses their entire portfolio. They were also divided as to giving advisors discretion to make changes to their portfolios. More than half (53%) indicated they want to work with an investment professionals who makes those changes when needed, while 47% preferred someone who lets them know when they should consider making those changes, along with the rationale for the changes.

The online survey polled 1,016 Americans ages 25 – 75 with $250,000 or more in investable assets who receive some form of professional financial advice. It was conducted from April 24 to May 1, 2013 by Koski Research.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Bank Investment Consultant content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access