When it comes to selecting a financial advisor, trust is key. Although that might sound elementary, the results of a recent survey conducted by Knowledge at Wharton and State Street Global Advisors (SSgA) show that many advisors are failing to cultivate trust through careful communication of the value of their services, sensitivity to client needs, and competence in discussing rates and other potentially awkward topics. In fact, according to the survey, there is a serious gap between how well clients think their advisors are doing and the advisors’ much higher opinion of their own performance.

In this special report, Knowledge at Wharton and SSgA look at the qualities that underlie strong advisor-client relationships. Industry experts and Wharton faculty weigh in on how trust is eroded, how expertise, ethics and empathy factor in, and what can be done to tackle sticky issues like transparency in fees. The report also includes a discussion of the SSgA-Knowledge at Wharton survey results and a follow-up focus group on investors’ attitudes about advisors.