The vast majority of advisors don’t typically work with investors with less than $100,000, according to a recent report from Cerulli Associates, WealthManagement.com reports. The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule could make it even less likely they’ll want to serve the segment, according to the web publication.
Just 8% of advisors work with American households with less than $100,000 in investable assets — which represents 71% of all U.S. households, according to the report, WealthManagement.com writes. It’s not that they’re unwilling, according to Tom O’Shea, associate director at Cerulli; they just don’t know how to make money advising them, he said, according to the web publication.
The DOL rule released in April requiring brokers to avoid conflicts of interest will take away commissions income from brokers and lead to even fewer of them wanting to deal with smaller investors — or so say industry lobbyists, the report writes, according to the web publication.
O’Shea, on the other hand, says that while the rule will cause insurance broker-dealers to leave behind small investors for other types of advice firms, the rule is an opportunity, WealthManagement.com writes.
But traditional firms will need to scale up and become more like direct-to-consumer firms, which will also require giving up aspects of financial planning such as asset allocation and asset modeling, according to O’Shea, the web publication writes.
Robo-advice has been touted as an alternative by the DOL for investors who can’t justify paying a traditional advisor, as reported previously. But according to Cerulli, a lot of robo-advice firms can’t get enough clients to stay profitable, and there are still doubts whether they can replace a human advisor, WealthManagement.com writes. This could leave smaller investors in the lurch too, according to the web publication.
The industry seems to be paying attention to the smaller investor, however. According to Cerulli, the number-one factor why advisors are considering rolling out digital advice is to serve less profitable accounts, InvestmentNews writes.
The second most popular reason is to attract Millennials, according to the report, the publication writes.