Investors and the public

Investor STATISTICS & Resources

Extreme Discontent

  • 80.6% of investors plan to take away money from their advisor
    44.7% of investors will not recommend their advisor to other investors
    56.7% of investors plan on leaving their advisor
    • September 2008, Prince & Associates, Inc.
  • Only 2% of investors with more than $1 million in investable assets plan to recommend their firm to other investors
    • Tiburon report Current Events: Making Sense of The Impacts
  • Thane Stenner, founder of Stenner Investment Partners, says many wealthy investors are displeased and unsettled about their current advisory relationships, but they are unsure what to do about it. He notes the Spectrem survey shows 36% of millionaire households are unhappy with their advisor's performance, while only 14% say they plan to make more use of advisors in the future.
  • Why financial advisors lose their clients:
    • Poor service
    • Inadequate communication
    • Advisors not being honest and upfront about their fees (Source: Spectrem Group)

Industry Disconnect

  • "There's approximately 10% of the total financial advisors of the major firms that practice true wealth management or have a holistic, consultative practice. Which means 90% do everything else." - Rick Capozzi, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management Group
  • More than 75% of investors with more than $1 million in investable assets say they plan to take money away from their current financial advisors. More than 75% of financial advisors say they have not lost clients, and in some cases have even gained clients. So how can it be that more than three-quarters of affluent clients say they plan to move money but three-quarters or more of advisors say they haven't lost clients?
    • "Who's Lying: Clients or Advisors", March 2009, FA Magazine
  • The term "wealth management" is grossly overused in the financial services industry today. The vast majority of financial advisors-77.9 percent, according to a Prince/Geracioti study call themselves wealth managers. Yet just 8.4 percent truly fit this description, according to data obtained in a study of 1,177 financial firms. The others act as investment generalists (79.1 percent) or product specialists (12.4 percent).
    • Source: Wealth Management (Wealth Management Press, 2003); Prince & Associates, 2004. Analysis: CEG Worldwide, LLC.
  • "Wealth-management business CEO's rate only 17 percent of their current client relationship managers as having the skills to manage the needs of their clients."
    • Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers' 2007 Global Private Banking/Wealth Management Survey
  • Spectrem Group research has revealed fees are merely one of the many factors that are considered when determining overall satisfaction with one's advisor. Objective advice, expertise, breadth of product offerings, and quality of online services are a few of the traits that appear to be more important than fees.


  • 68% of Americans anticipate they will need to postpone their age of retirement by at least 2 years as a result of the bear market that hit US stocks beginning in October 2007
    • Source: Money
  • "The typical baby boomer is still 14 years away from retirement, which means that wealth accumulation is still a big issue for 77 million of them"
    • September 2008, ONWALLSTREET
  • Of the more than 10,000 Americans that were surveyed early last summer, only 27% were confident that they had or were saving sufficient money for their retirement. Another 23% were not sure.
    • Source: Retirement Made Simpler
  • 31% of current American workers have done no planning or saved any money for their future retirement
    • Source: Principal Financial
  • 4 in 10 (40%) Mass Affluent investors do not have a financial plan. Of those without plans, 40% think they are important and nearly one-fourth would like to have a professionally prepared plan.
    • Source: Spectrem Group
  • Survey of 1,305 independent financial advisors conducted by Curian Capital LLC, a Denver-based registered investment advisor, reports:
    • 90% of advisors feel that at least 20% of their clients don't have enough money
      set aside to retire at their expected income levels
    • 40% of advisors feel the biggest threat to their clients' retirement planning is a lack of time to build wealth
    • 69% of advisors say they haven't changed their clients' portfolios in the face of market volatility
  • Contradictory result: the survey shows 97% of advisors say retirement income planning is the most valuable asset they provide clients, and yet 55% would outsource that planning to a third-party asset manager.

Declining Numbers

  • The total net worth of Americans was $51.5 trillion as of 12/31/08, down 18% in the last year, reaching its lowest level since 9/30/05
    • Source: Federal Reserve
  • Spectrem Group Study:
    • The population of millionaires has taken its biggest percentage plunge since the firm started collecting data about 10 years ago. Households in the U.S. with a net worth of at least $1 million, excluding primary residences, has dropped to 6.7 million in 2008 from 9.2 million in 2007.
    • The number of households with investible assets of at least $1 million fell by 26% to 4.4 million from 5.98 million.
    • Households with a net worth of $5 million or more are also declining. Their numbers fell to 840,000 from 1.16 million
    • Almost half of all millionaire households lost more than 30% of their net worth, while a full 17% say they lost at least 40% of their money

Market & Economic Conditions

  • THE LAST 5 MONTHS - During the worst bear market ever for the S&P 500, the stock index fell 86.2% over a 33-month period (i.e., 9/06/29 to 6/01/32). More than half of the 86.2% decline occurred during the last 5 months of the 33-month period. From 12/31/31 to 6/01/32, the S&P 500 fell 45.8%. From its all-time high set on 10/09/07, the S&P 500 has fallen 51.7% over the last 17 months to last Friday's close. In the last 5 months, the S&P 500 has fallen 24.6%. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that is generally
    considered representative of the US stock market
    • Source: BTN Research
  • CATCHING UP - Over the last 15 years (1994-2008), the S&P 500 is up +6.5% per year on a total return basis. In order to have a trailing 20-year average annual total return of +10% by the end of the year 2013 (i.e., 5 years from now), the S&P 500 would have to produce average gains of +21.3% per year over the 5 years 2009-2013
    • Source: BTN Research
  • A weekly survey of stock investors indicated 70% of them were bearish as of 3/04/09, the highest bearish measurement ever recorded by this study
    • Source: American Association of Individual Investors
  • 4 out of every 7 American families (57%) have experienced stock losses (i.e., realized or unrealized) of at least $100,000 during the current bear market. From its all-time closing high set in early October 2007, the S&P 500 is down 56.3% through last Friday's close
    • Source: Kiplinger's, BTN Research
  • To rank in the top 1% of all US taxpayers, an individual would have to earn $388,806 of adjusted gross income
    • Source: IRS, Tax Foundation
  • The top 1% of wage earners took home 22.1% of all national income in 2006, up from 8.5% in 1980. This same group paid 39.9% of all federal income tax in 2006, up from 19.1% in 1980
    • Source: IRS, Tax Foundation