Television host and personal finance blogger Preet Banerjee has launched a new survey on the value of financial advice. He’s been researching the subject since 2015. “I’m in the fifth and hopefully final year of this research,” he says. “My supervisor seems to be under the impression that I’ll submit my thesis before summer, and hopefully I can defend before the end of the year.”
Banerjee has chosen a difficult subject. A lot of people believe their financial advisor delivers value. Those who don’t often shop for a new one, which is another kind of belief statement. But actually quantifying what an advisor relationship is worth over a number of years has proven difficult.
“You’ll often see studies that say ‘people with advisors have more money.’ But generally speaking, financial advisors tend to only go after people with money, and people who have already accumulated some wealth or have high incomes are more active in seeking advice,” says Banerjee. “Who is really responsible for the client being in the good position that they are?”
The survey is designed to dig into causation. It asks respondents to disclose who made first contact (them or the advisor), how much money they had saved at the beginning of the relationship and what areas of financial planning they are being advised on.
“The conversation on the cost of financial advice and products is more well defined than the other big part of that equation: value,” says Banerjee. “To understand what represents a good trade off between what one pays and what one receives, is a very personal thing. There are some people who pay a lot and get poor value. But there are some people who pay a lot and get fair value in exchange.”
Banerjee says the research program will deliver insights to consumers, industry, regulators, and policy makers. “I would be very appreciative if people could take the survey. The only requirement is that you are 18 or older and live in Canada.”
The survey is easy to complete, and runs 5-10 minutes. You can access it here, on your computer or mobile device.