Consumers Want Financial Advisors Who Make Things Easier

January 12, 2006 ( - The ING Financial Planning and Investing Study found that 73% of consumers would switch to a financial services firm with a reputation for making the financial planning process easier.

“This research clearly shows that consumers are frustrated by the complexity of the financial planning process, and they are seeking partnerships with financial services firms that will make it easier for them,” said Thomas McInerney, Chief Executive Officer of ING US Financial Services, in a press release about the study.

When asked what makes a financial services experience “easy,” the respondents most highly valued seven factors:

  • Knowledgeable representatives: 79%
  • Ability to provide information in straightforward language they understand: 76%
  • Responsiveness to their needs: 76%
  • Quality of customer service: 74%
  • Products that clearly address their needs: 74%
  • Clear explanation of all costs, penalties and restrictions: 73%
  • Ability to understand their needs and financial goals:  71%

Indicating consumers’ frustrations with the complexity of financial planning, the ING survey also found:

  • Almost half of consumers say retirement planning is harder than raising a child (43% vs. 38%).
  • Nearly four out of 10 (37%) consumers say it is difficult to understand most financial services information.
  • Consumers say they spend more time researching their new car purchases (42%), new job opportunities (41%), doctors (33%), or a school or daycare center (28%) than they do researching a financial advisor (23%).
  • A third of consumers say friends, relatives and co-workers are their most reliable sources for financial information.

The ING Financial Planning and Investing Study included 1,004 US consumers from age 35 to 64 with annual household incomes of at least $60,000.