Financial advisers have just been added to the list of professions where practitioners are rated online by their customers.
Doctors are rated, and so are lawyers, professors and teachers. Now, thanks to a new website called AdvisorSavvy, so will investment advisers and financial planners.
AdvisorSavvy was launched in early May as a means of connecting advisers and people looking for advisers. “Advisers need the platform to share specialties and practices, and consumers are looking for a safe spot be able to find advisers,” said Sol Amos, founder of AdvisorSavvy and a former client-satisfaction expert in the bank-owned brokerage business.
Advisers can have a basic profile on AdvisorSavvy at no cost, or pay for an expanded listing with more detail about the services they offer. The 30 or so people listed so far are divided into financial coaches, financial planners, insurance advisers and investment advisers. Users can further sort the listing by the type of fee charged, by languages spoken, years in business and by specialties such as tax planning or divorce and separation planning.
Just two individuals had been rated as of late May, which highlights the challenge ahead for AdvisorSavvy. It needs a deep inventory of advisers to generate revenues, and it needs their plentiful ratings to generate buzz.
The rating aspect will obviously limit the field of advisers willing to list on AdvisorSavvy. ““The site isn’t going to be for everyone, and I didn’t build it for everyone,” Mr. Amos said. “I built it for advisers who are confident in their client experience and the service they’re providing, and who have honed their practice in terms of specialties or certifications or qualifications.”
Clients are asked to rate their advisers in three areas - performance, fees and whether the adviser has the client’s best interests in mind. The idea is to limit the scope for bad reviews based on disappointing investment returns. “Advisers get hit with a bad rating sometimes, not because of what they actually do, but because of the market,” Mr. Amos said. “If the market’s terrible, the adviser gets slammed.”
Mr. Amos said advisers are checked before they’re added to the database to ensure they are in good standing with regulators and have not been disciplined. Clients rating their advisers must create an account and sign in (the review itself can be anonymous. This allows AdvisorSavvy to verify that people leaving reviews were actually clients of the adviser in question.