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Financial Planning

Rich Investors Pay Less for Financial Advice

A six-figure portfolio buys more expertise and services for a lower fee.

Investors with $100,000 in assets or more can look forward to receiving more one-on-one attention from their financial adviser. Even better, they might pay less for the stepped-up service.

See Also: 6 Things to Know About Financial Planners

Consulting firm Price-Metrix’s latest survey of investment advisers found that they are shedding clients with smaller portfolios to focus on customers with six figures or more in assets. On average, the number of households served by the advisers surveyed dropped from 165 to 159 in 2012. During the same period, advisers charged 13% less to manage new accounts for which fees were based on assets under management, and they cut rates even more for their most affluent clients.

The average client with $1 million in assets saw an 18% decline in advisory fees, translating into savings of about $1,800 in 2012 over the year before. Part of the reduction was due to an industry shift from commission-based pricing to fee-based models. Fees are negotiable, and a competitive market for advice gives investors bargaining power.

With a smaller, albeit better-heeled clientele, planners are boosting value with more-comprehensive guidance, adding life insurance and college-savings recommendations to their services. “Financial advisers are becoming a premium service,” says Doug Trott, PriceMetrix’s CEO.


The wooing of the wealthy leaves out young workers, who haven’t had time to accumulate assets but still have questions about marriage, children and buying a first home. People just starting out, as well as anyone lacking a six-figure account, can find an adviser through the Garrett Planning Network of fee-only planners. Another serv­ice that’s worth exploring is, which will connect you with a financial planner who will work with you via e-mail or telephone for a flat fee.