How to Handle Client Expectations

Managing expectations as a wealth advisor can be difficult at times, but by keeping a few things in mind, it can be easier. Clients are more understanding about market dips and risky investments if there are a few essential things in place. Below is a list of crucial things to establish early on to help manage clients overall expectations.

Discuss and Manage Risk

Discussing and setting guidelines for the amount of risk that a client is comfortable with can go a long way. Problems tend to arise when the risk of investments are not completely understood before hand. If a client is comfortable with a moderate amount of risk and you know this, they will not be a surprised and upset when an investment does not go as you both hoped. On the other hand, if a client is risk averse and you have not picked up on that, their expectation is that you will not lead them astray.

Build a Strong Relationship

Relationships are the building blocks of overall expectations. In order to be on the same page, a client must understand the relationship and trust your judgement. Additionally, with a strong relationship established, missteps along the way are easier to swallow because they know you have their best interest at heart. A client will be less likely to send an angry email if they know you ultimately have their back.

Be Transparent

Transparency, especially when it comes to others money, is fundamental. Do not be afraid to be open and honest about big wins, but also the failures as well. Showing the good and the bad lets the client know you are not keeping anything from them. This will go a long way, especially if an investment does not go the way that you both had previously discussed. It is human nature to feel more relaxed with someone they trust and knows has their back. Your client with thank you for your transparency and in turn they will trust your overall judgement.


Take the time to really listen to your client. They will tell you exactly what they are looking for and where their interests are. Additionally, this gives you the chance to directly manage expectations from the beginning. Listen to a client’s needs, if they do not align with what you think is possible with their portfolio – tell them. It is better to talk about these things in a clear way early and often. By listening to their concerns and hopes, you will be able to proactively work towards a portfolio that is realistic and that the client is happy with.

Remain in Regular Contact

Constant contact is a great way to mitigate any issues. By staying in regular contact, the client knows exactly what is going on. They can take all the guessing out of it! The more informed they are, they less likely they will feel blindsided when things do not go the way they hoped or envisioned.