The value of advice
Shopping for a financial product on your own these days is bit like going to a busy supermarket on a
Saturday morning. No matter what you’re looking for, you suddenly realize that there is an awful lot to
choose from and aside from the packaging they all seem the same. You could study the contents in the
fine print, but if you’re like many investors you become overwhelmed and decide to do nothing or buy
something on impulse.
Now what would happen if you had a financial advisor to walk you through the financial market and help
sort through all those competing brands? That’s a question The Investment Funds Institute of Canada set
out to answer in an exhaustive study, including surveying 1,030 households with an advisor, and 1,371
households without one. Their overwhelming conclusion: people with an advisor compile far more assets
than those without one.
For example, take a look at the chart below. It compares the investable assets of households with an
advisor to those without one. In some cases people with an advisor had nearly five times the level of
investable assets as those without one.
RRSPs and TFSAs play an important role in any investment strategy. As the chart below shows,
households with an advisor had far more invested in registered plans than those without one.
The importance of receiving financial advice was also reflected in the assets people own. As the chart
below shows, investors without an advisor tended to own low-yielding investments like GICs, while
those with an advisor hold more market-sensitive products like mutual funds and equities which have the
potential for higher returns.
While accumulating assets is something tangible, using an advisor also produced something intangible
but just as valuable – peace of mind. According to the survey because advisors had encouraged good
saving and investment habits their clients were better able to face the uncertainties of life than those
without an advisor.