How often should I meet my financial advisor

on Wednesday, 7 November 2012. Posted in
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meeting with financial adviserQ: How often should I meet my financial adviser?

A: There is no right answer, but we do have a preferred approach.  We like to meet, or at least touch base with our clients every quarter. This might over lunch, after work or during the day at a convenient time depending on the clients schedule.  This might seem like a lot, and it doesn’t work for every client, but we think is a good guide for a few reasons.

  1. For most of our clients, their schedule is busy involving unforeseen travel. Chinese holidays also crop up on very regular intervals so we find with many clients, despite all the best intentions in the world, many clients aim for 4 meetings a year, and end up meeting their advisor 3 times per year.  We think that less than that, for those with a global strategy, is not quite enough.
  2. Not every meeting is the same. Some advisors think that once per year is enough for a meeting – which is true if you are simply doing an asset allocation in a purely passive approach.  Some advisors believe that a meeting every six months is appropriate and that more regularly is too much since you risk changing your portfolio too often.  Portfolio churn is a concern in these circumstances and we agree.  We don’t think that full portfolio review every quarter is in our client’s interest.  We have researched our client returns and found that the less actively trading clients tend to achieve better returns – something that seems counter intuitive, but is backed by considerable academic research.  Still there are other things to discuss.
  3. We don’t think that every meeting, should be purely and solely about your money.  We believe the best cooperative relationship is one that is not forced, but natural and can be social with a relaxed lunch or a gentle chat over a coffee.  Understanding the full needs and concerns of a client isn’t an easy process or even one that some people can even explain to themselves.  However we find that getting to know someone and their situation/goals and life in general helps us ensure that a portfolio and its terms are balanced correctly.  We find that if we meet only 1-2 times per year there is too much business to get through for it to be a natural and relaxed conversation, and this gets in the way of the more general and deeper conversations far too much.

advisorUltimately, the answer that you and your advisor need to reach depends on your situation.  What is the size, the strategy and risk profile of your assets.   For some clients 1-2 times per year is perfectly adequate whilst for others there are times when you will be meeting your adviser several times per month until a plan is in place.

The bottom-line however is – don’t wait for your advisor to contact you to organize a chat, and, don’t just wait until there is a burning topic of interest.   Just stay in touch on a regular basis and you’ll get a better outcome.

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