Investment advisers often point to months such as this past March to explain the value they offer in comparison with DIY investing.
In a crashing stock market, an adviser can be a voice of reason and rationality. Someone to hear out panicked investors and then explain why they shouldn’t act on their emotions with impulsive portfolio changes. Unfortunately, quite a lot of investors never got this type of service from their advisers in the market plunge.
A poll commissioned by the Ontario Securities Commission documents the problem. Close to 2,000 people were asked between March 30 and April 11 about the anxiety they felt about their investments, and 47 per cent said they were more stressed.
How did advisers tackle this wall of worry? Almost three-quarters of poll participants with an adviser did have some form of communication from this individual or his or her firm. The flip side here is that close to 25 per cent did not hear from their adviser during the worst market plunge since the global financial crisis.
A total of 46 per cent of poll participants with an adviser actually had discussions with this person. But another 17 per cent received “informative messages” and 11 per cent received some other type of communication.
Message to the one in four investors who never heard from their adviser: This individual does not care about your account. You probably know that already. Now for the 28 per cent who got an e-mail or other form of impersonal communication: Your adviser doesn’t care about your account, either. Adding your name to an e-mail distribution list is worth about $1 of the total fees you’ll pay this year.
The real deal in advice is personal contact. Not just in the introductory client-adviser phase, when you’re handing over money to invest, but regularly through the years and most certainly during stock-market crashes. Close to half of advisers contacted their clients in April; kudos to them for a demonstration of one of the core reasons to have an adviser.
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