What is the range of services advisors offer their clients?  We call this the advice service spectrum and an individual financial advisor’s service spectrum defines them, in some respect.  It creates the experiential expectations of their clients.  In other words, it creates their brand in the minds of their clients.

Credo surveyed 500 advisors from across Canada.  We asked them about the frequency with which they provide various services to their clients.  This is what we found.

Exhibit 1. How frequently do you provide each of the following services to your clients?

The analysis presented in exhibit 1 above shows how frequently personal financial advisors offer each of the listed services to their clients.  It makes clear the nature of the advice industry, in some respects, and it opens the opportunity for differentiation for advisors who are willing to integrate new types of guidance into their practice.

Currently, about 40% of Canada’s retail financial advisors always offer their clients investment management and planning services.  Fewer than 5% either never or rarely offer these services.  At the other end of the spectrum, however, a variety of services really don’t form part of the service offering for many financial advisors.  Tax preparation services, for instance, are never or rarely provided by the majority of advisors.

Credo believes that there is tremendous opportunity for advisors to distinguish themselves from other advisors by auditing their skills and services and by creating their own, unique cocktail of services; a cocktail for services to needy clients.

All of the services listed in our analysis are essential for at least some clients.  Advisors will recognize that its impractical to be able to specialize in all of these.  However, it’s certainly not impractical to appreciate the need for each service and the ability to recognize within their clients the need for each.  Partnership with other advisors — partnership that enables the delivery of the services that you’re not going to focus on — is a clear approach to integrating many of these services into your brand as an advisor.

For more information about how these services help advisors build and maintain their brands in an increasingly demanding personal financial advice environment, ask Credo about the biennial Connecting with Financial Advisors (CWA) research program.