Portrait of a Canadian advisor: First Annual Dollars & Sense Survey

By Jim MacDonald | October 1, 2002 | Last updated on October 1, 2002
2 min read

(October 1, 2002) It’s a job of finding, minding and grinding. This seems to be the job description of Canadian financial advisors that emerges from a new national survey.

The first Annual Dollars & Sense Survey was commissioned by Advisor.ca, Advisor’s Edge and Objectif Conseiller magazines, members of The ADVISOR Group of Rogers Media. The poll was conducted in May of this year by the ADVISOR Group research department in Toronto.

Advisors from across Canada were invited to complete an online questionnaire, available in both English and French. Responses were received from 1,760 advisors. In general, respondents were questioned about their business practices, including practice structures, incomes and investment assumptions. In short, we looked at how advisors do business, how much they were paid and the challenges they face.

“We wanted to help advisors answer a simple question: ‘How am I doing?’ To give them an opportunity to benchmark their success relative to their peers across the country,” said Darin Diehl, content director of The ADVISOR Group.

“We also wanted to provide a platform for advisors to share their opinions and assumptions across a whole range of investment and financial planning issues. This benefits not only advisors, but also helps our editorial team gain a better understanding of advisor needs so that we can deliver relevant content against those needs,” said Diehl.

The survey found that advisors work harder for every penny, and despite a difficult investing climate, many grew their businesses in 2001.

On average, advisors had been in the business for 11 years and had $16.2 million in assets under management for a total of 311 clients. The average client had invested $90,246. Advisors in British Columbia reported the highest average client holdings at $93,573.

Overall, a majority of advisors said their client base increased slightly in 2001. The average increase was 0.50%.

The average advisor income was $92,584 in 2001. Advisors on the Prairies reported the highest average income: $97,171. The lowest was in Atlantic Canada ($82,692). Half of the respondents reported a small increase in their 2001 gross revenues.

Here is a sampling of other findings:

  • Quebec advisors met most frequently with their clients but reported a lower incidence of receiving more referrals (68% versus the national average of 90%).
  • Three-quarters of respondents were licensed to sell both mutual funds and insurance.
  • Biggest factor attributed to any decrease in client book: weeding out clients (33%).
  • Most common investment products added to the offerings of advisors: managed products and structured products.
  • Average predicted long-term real rate of investment return: 6.2%.
  • Biggest daily challenges: time management (21%) and prospecting (16%).

The confidence level of the survey is 98% and the margin of error was plus or minus 1%.

Advisor.ca has complete coverage of the first Annual Dollars & Sense Survey across the Web site. Extensive coverage is also available in the October editions of Advisor’s Edge and Objectif Conseiller magazines.

Jim MacDonald