Are clients happy with fee-only financial advisors: Survey Results

Are clients happy with fee-only financial advisors

Published: August 30, 2019 at 11:33 am

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As readers may be aware, for the last six years I have been maintaining a list of SEBI registered fee-only financial advisors. It is a matter of great pride that hundreds of freefincal readers work with these fee-only advisors (FOAs). Recently I had requested such clients to complete a feedback form. Here are the results.

For those who may not be aware, a fee-only advisor is one that does not accept any kind of commissions from any product manufacturer and has no profit-sharing arrangement with any third-party. They are registered with SEBI as investment advisors and work only with you the client.

I am glad that 412 responses were received for the survey and except 26 of those responses all others were from clients working with FOAs on my list. I presented these survey results to gather of such advisors in Chennai on Aug 24th and 25th. Only generic information was shared with the advisors.

Fourth Fee-only India Meet Photos

Fee-only India is an informal association of SEBI registered investment advisors offering commission-free and conflict-free investment advise launched in Sep 2017. Some of them are part of my list (depending on their experience and my comfort level).

Logo of fee only india an association of fee only financial planners

Although I was the organiser of the meet, I missed most of it due to fever. Also since it was a two-day meet, not all participants (24, including non-advisors – me and FB group Asan Ideas for Wealth admin Ashal Jauhari) are found in the same photo.

FOI RIA Chennai Meet Group Photo 2Standing L to R: Basavaraj Tonagatti, Ajay Pruthi, Shashi Singh, Avinash Luthria,
Venkateshwaran Subramanian, S R Srinivasan, Upasana Mondal, Shilpa Wagh,
Preeti Zende.

Sitting L to R: V Brijesh, V Sudheer, Chandan Singh Padiyar, Pattu, Ashal, Melvin, Sriram Jayaram

FOI RIA Chennai Meet Group Photo 3

Standing from L to R: Swapnil Kendhe, Venkateshwaran Subramanian, Vikram Krishnamoorthy, Basavaraj Tonagatti, Ajay Pruthi, Shashi Singh, Gursimran Singh, Shilpa Wagh, S R Srinivasan, Avinash Luthria, Preeti Zende, Aniksha Lanjewar.

Sitting from L to R: Chandan Singh Padiyar, V Sudheer, Ashal Jauhari, Melvin Joseph, Sriram Jayaram, V. Brijesh.

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Are clients happy with fee-only financial advisors: Survey Results

Two types of questions were asked: multiple-choice and short-answer. I shall present only the former here as they can be represented by charts. We have received some excellent positive and negative feedback. The planners have agreed to work on this to make their service better. So a big thank you to all participants. I shall present snippets of positive feedback and discuss negative feedback in detail in subsequent posts/videos.

Is your Fee-only Advisor (FOA) a part of the list maintained at

Is your Fee-only Advisor (FOA) a part of the list maintained at freefincal

How did you come to know about your FOA?

How did you come to know about your FOAWhy did you choose to work with an FOA?

Why did you choose to work with an FOA

What factors did you look at before deciding on your FOA?

What factors did you look at before deciding on your FOA

How was your experience?

How was your experienceWill you renew the contract? That is, will you go back to them for a review?

Will you renew the contract

Note many DIY approach FOAs for a second opinion and so there is no need for them to renew. Best response:

I will not renew because my FOA made me a DIY!  

Are you able to reach your planner whenever you need his support?

Are you able to reach your planner whenever you need his supportWill you recommend your planner to others in your contacts?

Will you recommend your planner to others in your contactsBrutally frank response (that advisors will appreciate more!)

I will not recommend to my contacts because they will not pay fee!


So the results as you can see are fairly encouraging. At the Chennai meet, we did not waste time feeling good about the overwhelmingly positive feedback. Instead, we talked about how the nature of the service should be made clear and how the FOAs can improve their service. More on this in upcoming videos and posts.

If you think you need help in managing your finances then pick an advisor from my list. You can choose one that speaks your mother tongue if it will make you comfortable: List of Fee-only Financial Planners in India

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About the Author

Pattabiraman editor freefincalM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. since Aug 2006. Connect with him via Twitter or Linkedin Pattabiraman has co-authored two print-books, You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) and Gamechanger and seven other free e-books on various topics of money management. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India” an organisation to promote unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
He conducts free money management sessions for corporates and associations on the basis of money management. Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, Cognizant, Madras Atomic Power Station, Honeywell, Tamil Nadu Investors Association. For speaking engagements write to pattu [at] freefincal [dot] com

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  1. Thanks for sharing the results.

    Is the FOA meet only open to FOAs or everyone?
    How do I sign up for the next event?
    Are there similar events where wanna-be FOAs can participate and learn from the set of people posing in the above pictures?

    Assume I am an MF distributor trying to evolve into an FOA.

  2. Sorry to say but this model is not at all suitable for smaller cities where products are sold on one to one relationship and charging fees is very difficult and moreover you are dealing in a country where people most of the time not even consult a doctor for getting there ailment corrected they just trust on his nearby chemist shop..

  3. I can’t speak for all the FOAs. But I feel that freefincal does an excellent job of educating people. A few of my clients are active readers of the blog and they actually have fewer questions than others!

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