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SEI report shows disconnect on meaning of transparency

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A report on the relationship between investors and their wealth managers has found that while both groups say increased transparency is of paramount importance, they differ on the level and nature of communication they are seeking.



The report from SEI, entitled Tackling Transparency, is the result of interviews carried out by independent research firm Scorpio Partnership that compared the views of 250 wealth managers and their clients on the issue of transparency.

The findings of these interviews show a clear discrepancy between what wealth managers believe they are delivering and what investors believe they are receiving.

The report shows that investors want an open dialogue and an easy method to understand their portfolios – and how it connects with their goals and the markets.

However, these clients say what they typically receive from wealth managers is a complex report filled with information on transactions, tax, fees, products and services, without any analysis or explanation of how it relates to their personal circumstances.

Additionally, the report demonstrates a disconnect as findings indicate that wealth managers say they have a strong understanding of their clients’ goals, and that they excel at explaining their fee structures.

"Wealth managers and their clients agree on the need for greater transparency, but seem to differ on how to define it," says Al Chiaradonna, senior vice president for SEI’s global wealth services. "What we’re talking about is ‘usability’ – as an industry we’re expending great effort on transparency but still not truly delivering what clients are asking for. Wealth managers should ask themselves how they can provide a more dynamic reporting core that offers information and insight, not just data."

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