In the past five years the number of people using a financial planner has dropped 20%, down from three million to 2.4 million, new research shows.
The report from research-house Investment Trends shows that while fewer Australians are now using financial planners, remaining clients are much happier than a year before, when the Advice & Limited Advice Report was last released.
Market conditions have played a role in clients' satisfaction levels, according to Investment Trends principal Mark Johnston.
"It's always harder to say nice things about your adviser when your investments have just plunged, whereas this year's survey followed a six-month rally in equities," Johnston said.
Investment Trends' report also found that 52% of the 520,000 Australians planning to look for a new financial planner over the next two years say referrals from a friend will be how they will decide.
"Planners wanting to maximise this source of organic growth need to be perceived as knowledgeable, easy to deal with and acting in the clients' best interests," Johnston said.
Interestingly, given that advisers typically lose money on the bottom third of their book, he said most planners don't see smaller active client numbers as a bad thing.
"So losing those clients is not necessarily a negative, many are actively trying to focus on higher net-worth clients and service a smaller base better," he said.
"That's great for planners and for those clients, but does threaten to create an advice vacuum for the masses. This is where the big players must step in."
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