A new study indicates that clients are more concerned with the transparency of fee struc­ture rather than the nature of the fees. ING recently commissioned the Nielsen Company to survey over 700 customers about their perceptions regarding financial advice. Nielsen reported that 71 percent of those surveyed rated fee transparency as very important.

But when it came to the actual structure of the fees, the respondents were less bothered about the intricacies, with 26 percent prefer­ring an hourly rate structure; 18 percent voting for commission-based; 18 percent selecting a mixture of fees and commission as a preferred method of payment and 20 percent stating they had no preference for any system.

“The debate is not about fee for service ver­sus commission,” Dan Powell, ING executive director of sales and marketing commented, “it’s about the provision of quality advice and the overall outcome”.

Another interesting tidbit from the research relates to referral business. According to Nielsen, the amount of contact a client has with an adviser directly impacts the client’s predisposition to recommend that adviser to someone else. 

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