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From Main Street to Wall Street: The Deficient Frontier
Genworth Financial Wealth Management study reveals advisors need new ways to approach investment and risk, better ways to communicate with clients

NEW YORK, April 6, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --An informed investor is a happy investor, according to a recent survey conducted by Genworth Financial Wealth Management, Inc. (GFWM), an investment management and consulting firm dedicated to helping financial advisors build great businesses. GFWM is a subsidiary of Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE: GNW).

The survey, which aims to uncover use of and attitudes toward financial advisors in today's economic climate, reveals that an investor's satisfaction is strongly associated with his or her advisor's ability to proactively communicate and make informed investment changes. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the survey also finds that there is no direct correlation between a client's satisfaction and the number of years an advisor has retained the client, underscoring the need for advisors to raise the bar and actively find new strategies to keep their clients happy.

According to the survey, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those who report an advisor helps them understand market impact are extremely satisfied. Conversely, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of those who say an advisor does not help them understand the market impact are dissatisfied.Respondents who indicate their advisors are more vocal are more likely to be "extremely satisfied" with their services. Of the respondents who say their advisor is "not very vocal," 58% are not "extremely satisfied" with services, while 32% are.

"Last year's financial meltdown showed we need new ways to approach investing and risk and better ways to communicate with clients," says Gurinder Ahluwalia, president of Genworth Financial Wealth Management. "Advisors who can talk in depth with clients about what is happening in the market and develop flexible strategies are more likely to have satisfied and loyal clients. That translates into growth for their businesses. Well-informed investors who understand the markets and their investment options will also be better equipped to navigate change."

The survey also shows a cause-and-effect relationship among proactive communication, advisor retention and assets under management. For example:

  • Individuals who report to be "extremely satisfied" with the level of service they receive from their advisors are more likely to have a higher proportion of total assets managed by an advisor.
  • Of those "extremely satisfied with their advisor," 35% report that more than half of their assets are managed by an advisor.
  • Only 26% of those who are not "extremely satisfied" report advisors managed more than half of their assets.
  • Those who are not "extremely satisfied" are most likely (45%) to have less than 25% of their assets managed by an advisor.

Ahluwalia added, "Many financial advisors believe that if they've had a client for 12+ years, then that means their clients are satisfied. That just isn't the case. Length of client retention is not directly correlated to being satisfied, and advisors just can't get too comfortable."

The survey results, and timely debate on investment and risk, will be discussed today at a roundtable event, entitled "The Deficient Frontier," at Genworth Financial in New York. Participants include Tim Knepp, chief investment officer at Genworth Financial Asset Management (GFAM), a division of GFWM, and Jim VanHeuit, senior vice president of San Francisco-based Callan and Associates, Inc. Mr. Ahluwalia will moderate the session.

As part of its ongoing efforts to help advisors through unpredictable markets and economic conditions, GFWM will also launch a web tool this spring to help advisors better communicate with their clients and prospects in a more interactive way. The tool will help advisors better explain GFWM's "sailing and rowing" metaphor, feature case studies about individual investors that help illustrate the differences between cyclical and secular bull and bear markets, and contain interactive tools to help investors apply learnings to their unique situation.

Survey Methodology

The survey was administered by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) to 2,028 adults, comprising 1,025 men and 1,003 women 18 years of age and older. The survey was completed during the period of March 4-8, 2010. The margin of sampling error for these results is plus or minus two percentage points.

About Genworth Financial Wealth Management, Inc.

Genworth Financial Wealth Management, Inc., helps independent Financial Advisors build great businesses by providing comprehensive support across every phase of their operation. We offer a sophisticated wealth management platform that enables advisors to craft customized solutions to meet a wide range of client needs; robust client relationship support and back office administration that reduces operational complexity; and pioneering practice management combining leading-edge industry research with real-world expertise and experience. Genworth Financial Wealth Management has helped over 4500 advisors raise over $18 billion in assets. For more information, visit www.genworthwealth.com.

About Genworth Financial

Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE: GNW) is a leading Fortune 500 global financial security company. Genworth has more than $100 billion in assets and employs approximately 6,000 people with a presence in more than 25 countries. Its products and services help meet the investment, protection, retirement and lifestyle needs of more than 15 million customers. Genworth operates through three segments: Retirement & Protection, US Mortgage Insurance and International. Its products and services are offered through financial intermediaries, advisors, independent distributors and sales specialists. Genworth Financial, which traces its roots back to 1871, became a public company in 2004 and is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. For more information, visit Genworth.com. From time to time Genworth releases important information via postings on its corporate website. Accordingly, investors and other interested parties are encouraged to enroll to receive automatic email alerts and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds regarding new postings. Enrollment information is found under the "Investors" section of Genworth.com.

SOURCE Genworth Financial, Inc.