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These Terms of Use ("Terms of Use") are made between the undersigned user ("you") and Lord, Abbett & Co. ("we" or "us"). They become effective on the date that you electronically execute these Terms of Use ("Effective Date").

A. You are a successful financial consultant that markets securities, including the Lord Abbett Family of Funds;

B. We have developed the Lord Abbett Intelligence System (the "Intelligence System"), a state of the art information resource that we make available to a limited community of broker/dealers through the Internet at a secure Web site (the "LAIS Site"); and

C. We wish to provide access to the Intelligence System to you as an information tool responsive to the demands of your successful business pursuant to these Terms of Use. Accordingly, you and we, intending to be legally bound, hereby agree as follows:]

1. Overview. · Scope. These Terms of Use (which we may amend from time to time) govern your use of the Intelligence System. · Revisions; Changes. We may amend these Terms of Use at any time by posting amended Terms of Use ("Amended Terms of Use") on the LAIS Site. Any Amended Terms of Use will become effective immediately upon posting. Your use of the Intelligence System after any Amended Terms of Use become effective will be deemed to constitute your acceptance of those Amended Terms of Use.We may modify or discontinue the Intelligence System at any time, temporarily or permanently, with or without notice to you. Purpose of the Intelligence System. The Intelligence System is intended to be an information resource that you may use to contribute to your business research. The Intelligence System is for broker/dealer use only; it is not to be used with the public in oral, written or electronic form. The information on the Intelligence System and LAIS Site is for your information only and is neither the tax, legal or investment advice of Lord Abbett or its third-party sources nor their recommendation to purchase or sell any security.

2. Your Privileges. · Personal Use. Your use of the Intelligence System is a nontransferable privilege granted by us to you and that we may deny, suspend or revoke at any time, with or without cause or notice. · Access to and Use of the Intelligence System. The User ID and password (together, an "Access ID") issued by us to you (as subsequently changed by you from time to time) is for your exclusive access to and use of the Intelligence System. You will: (a) be responsible for the security and use of your Access ID, (b) not disclose your Access ID to anyone and (c) not permit anyone to use your Access ID. Any access or use of the Intelligence System through the use of your Access ID will be deemed to be your actions, for which you will be responsible. · Required Technology. You must provide, at your own cost and expense, the equipment and services necessary to access and use the Intelligence System. At any time, we may change the supporting technology and services necessary to use the Intelligence System. · Availability. We make no guarantee that you will be able to access the Intelligence System at any given time or that your access will be uninterrupted, error-free or free from unauthorized security breaches.

3. Rights in Data. Our use of information collected from you will be in accordance with our Privacy Policy posted on the LAIS Site. Our compliance with our Privacy Policy will survive any termination of these Terms of Use or of your use of the Intelligence System.

4. Your Conduct in the Use of the Intelligence System. You may access, search, view and store a personal copy of the information contained on the LAIS Site for your use as a broker/dealer. Any other use by you of the Intelligence System and the information contained on the LAIS Site these Terms of Use is strictly prohibited. Without limiting the preceding sentence, you will not: · Engage in or permit any reproduction, copying, translation, modification, adaptation, creation of derivative works from, distribution, transmission, transfer, republication, compilation or decompilation, reverse engineering, display, removal or deletion of the Intelligence System, any portion thereof, or any data, content or information provided by us or any of our third-party sources in any form, media or technology now existing or hereafter developed, that is not specifically authorized under these Terms of Use.

· Remove, obscure or alter any notice, disclaimer or other disclosure affixed to or contained within the Intelligence System, including any copyright notice, trademark and other proprietary rights notices and any legal notices regarding the data, content or information provided through the Intelligence System.

· Create a hyperlink to, frame or use framing techniques to enclose any information found anywhere on the LAIS Site without our express prior written consent.

· Impersonate any person, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent his or her affiliation with any person in connection with any use of the Intelligence System.

· Breach or attempt to breach the security of the Intelligence System or any network, servers, data, or computers or other hardware relating to or used in connection with the Intelligence System; nor (b) use or distribute through the Intelligence System software or other tools or devices designed to interfere with or compromise the privacy, security or use of the Intelligence System by others or the operations or assets of any person.

· Violate any applicable law, including, without limitation, any state federal securities laws. 5. Your Representations and Warranties. You hereby represent and warrant to us, for our benefit, as of the time of these Terms of Use and for so long as you continue to use the Intelligence System, that (a) you are, and will continue to be, in compliance with these Terms of Use and any applicable laws and (b) you are authorized to provide to us the information we collect, as described in our Privacy Policy.

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THE INTELLIGENCE SYSTEM, THE LAIS SITE AND ALL DATA, INFORMATION AND CONTENT ON THE LAIS SITE ARE PROVIDED "AS IS" AND “AS AVAILABLE” AND WITHOUT ANY REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND. WITHOUT LIMITING THE PRECEDING SENTENCE, LORD ABBETT, ITS AFFILIATES, AGENTS, THIRD-PARTY SUPPLIERS AND LICENSORS, AND THEIR RESPECTIVE EMPLOYEES, CONTRACTORS, DIRECTORS, OFFICERS AND SHAREHOLDERS (COLLECTIVELY, THE “LORD ABBETT GROUP”) EXPRESSLY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, WHETHER EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY, INCLUDING THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, TITLE, AND NONINFRINGEMENT. YOU EXPRESSLY AGREE THAT YOUR USE OF THE LAIS SITE, THE INTELLIGENCE SYSTEM, AND THE DATA, INFORMATION AND CONTENT PRESENTED THERE ARE AT YOUR SOLE RISK AND THAT THE LORD ABBETT GROUP WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY (A) ERRORS OR INACCURACIES IN THE DATA, CONTENT AND INFORMATION ON THE LAIS SITE AND THE INTELLIGENCE SYSTEM OR (B) ANY TERMINATION, SUSPENSION, INTERRUPTION OF SERVICES, OR DELAYS IN THE OPERATION OF THE LAIS SITE OR THE INTELLIGENCE SYSTEM.

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THE INTELLIGENCE SYSTEM INCORPORATES DATA, CONTENT AND INFORMATION FROM VARIOUS SOURCES THAT WE BELIEVE TO BE ACCURATE AND RELIABLE. HOWEVER, THE LORD ABBETT GROUP MAKES NO CLAIMS, REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES AS TO THE ACCURACY, TIMELINESS, COMPLETENESS OR TRUTHFULNESS OF SUCH DATA, CONTENT AND INFORMATION. YOU EXPRESSLY AGREE THAT YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR INDEPENDENTLY VERIFYING YOUR INVESTMENT RESEARCH PRIOR TO FORMING YOUR INVESTMENT DECISIONS OR RENDERING INVESTMENT ADVICE. THE LORD ABBETT GROUP WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY INVESTMENT DECISION MADE BY YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON BASED UPON THE DATA, CONTENT AND INFORMATION PROVIDED THROUGH THE INTELLIGENCE SYSTEM OR ON THE LAIS SITE.

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THIS SECTION 6 SHALL SURVIVE ANY TERMINATION OF THESE TERMS OF USE OR YOUR USE OF THE INTELLIGENCE SYSTEM..

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NONE OF THE MEMBERS OF THE LORD ABBETT GROUP WILL BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE, SPECIAL OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES (INCLUDING LOSS OF PROFITS, LOSS OF USE, TRANSACTION LOSSES, OPPORTUNITY COSTS, LOSS OF DATA, OR INTERRUPTION OF BUSINESS) RESULTING FROM, ARISING OUT OF OR IN ANY WAY RELATING TO THE INTELLIGENCE SYSTEM, THE LAIS SITE OR YOUR USE THEREOF, EVEN IF THE LORD ABBETT GROUP HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. THIS SECTION 7 WILL SURVIVE ANY TERMINATION OF THESE TERMS OF USE OR YOUR USE OF THE INTELLIGENCE SYSTEM.

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THE UNIFORM COMPUTER INFORMATION TRANSACTIONS ACT OR ANY VERSION THEREOF, ADOPTED BY ANY STATE, IN ANY FORM ("UCITA") WILL NOT APPLY TO THESE TERMS OF USE. TO THE EXTENT THAT UCITA IS APPLICABLE, THE PARTIES HEREBY AGREE TO OPT OUT OF THE APPLICABILITY OF UCITA PURSUANT TO THE OPT-OUT PROVISION(S) CONTAINED THEREIN.

The Intelligence System is not intended to be used by consumers, nor are the consumer protection laws of any jurisdiction intended to apply to the Intelligence System. You agree to initiate and maintain any action, suit or proceeding relating to these Terms of Use or arising out of the use of the Intelligence System exclusively in the courts, state and federal, located in or having jurisdiction over New York County, New York.

YOU HEREBY CONSENT TO THE PERSONAL JURISDICTION AND VENUE OF THE COURTS, STATE AND FEDERAL, LOCATED IN OR HAVING JURISDICTION OVER NEW YORK COUNTY, NEW YORK. YOU AGREE THAT YOU WILL NOT OBJECT TO A PROCEEDING BROUGHT IN YOUR LOCAL JURISDICTION TO ENFORCE AN ORDER OR JUDGMENT OBTAINED IN NEW YORK.

· Relationship of Parties. The parties to these Terms of Use are independent contractors and nothing in these Terms of Use will be construed as creating an employment relationship, joint venture, partnership, agency or fiduciary relationship between the parties.

· Notice. All notices provided under these Terms of Use will be in writing and will be deemed effective: (a) when delivered personally, (b) when received by electronic delivery, (c) one business day after deposit with a commercial overnight carrier specifying next day delivery, with written verification of receipt, or (d) three business days after having been sent by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. We will only accept notices from you in English and by conventional mail addressed to: General Counsel Lord, Abbett & Co. 90 Hudson Street Jersey City, N.J. 07302-3973 We may give you notice by conventional mail or electronic mail addressed to the last mail or electronic mail address transmitted by you to us.

· Third-Party Beneficiaries. The members of the Lord Abbett Group are third-party beneficiaries of the rights and benefits provided to us under these Terms of Use. You understand and agree that any right or benefit available to us or any member of the Lord Abbett Group hereunder will also be deemed to accrue to the benefit of, and may be exercised directly by, any member of the Lord Abbett Group to the extent applicable.

· Survival. This Section 8 will survive any termination of these Terms of Use or your use of the Intelligence System. The undersigned hereby signs these Terms of Use. By electronically signing and clicking "Accept" below, these Terms of Use will be legally binding on me. To sign these Terms of Use, confirm your full name and enter your User ID and Password (as your electronic signature) in the fields indicated below and click the “I Accept” button.

 

Practice Management

Your clients' overall level of happiness with you is central to your ability to fend off competitors and grow your business successfully.

This Practice Management article is intended for financial advisors only (registered representatives of broker dealers or associated persons of Registered Investment Advisors).
 

If you're not highly focused on improving your level of client satisfaction, you should be. This is true regardless of whether your clients aren't thrilled with you or they think you are the greatest gift in their lives. The fact is that your clients' overall level of happiness with you is central to your ability to fend off competitors and grow your business rapidly.

Client satisfaction is very much on the minds of many advisors. In my firm's recent advisor survey, we learned that 71.4% of RIAs are "very or extremely concerned" about boosting client satisfaction. In fact, this concern was one of the most important ones cited by RIAs in our research—the only two concerns deemed more important were delivering high-quality products and services, and significantly growing assets. (See chart.)


 
Percentage of RIAs "Very" or "Extremely" Concerned about Key Issues

Source: CEG Worldwide, 2011.

 

There are, of course, numerous reasons for making client satisfaction a priority. We've long known, for example, that satisfaction breeds deep loyalty in clients. That loyalty, in turn, provides you with very tangible business benefits: highly loyal clients gave their advisors far more assets on average than clients who were less satisfied, researchers have found. And the most loyal clients made nearly 12 introductions a year, on average, to new prospective clients, while less-satisfied clients made just 2.1 introductions on average.

What Matters Most
Even though we find that while many advisors are concerned with boosting satisfaction among their clients, they often don't know what to do to make it happen. To ensure thoroughly satisfied clients, first understand exactly what clients really need. The base of any great advisor-client relationship is the level of relationship satisfaction a client feels. The way clients feel about their overall relationship with you is more important than even the level of satisfaction they feel about your service and your investment performance.

In general, if clients are unhappy with short-term investment performance, but pleased with their relationship with you, they'll likely remain with you. A strong relationship will likewise help smooth out administrative bumps.

Relationship satisfaction requires strong, ongoing personal interactions between you and your clients. There are several drivers of high levels of client relationship satisfaction:

1. Hustle. The key to high marks here is reliability. When you make a promise, keep it, and keep it on time. Set a goal of providing perfect service, with plenty of attention to details. Researchers have found that nearly two-thirds of very satisfied clients see their advisors as being perfectionists, compared with less than 7% of very dissatisfied clients.

2. Avoid surprises. While clients dislike service failures, they dislike unpleasant surprises even more, making it your job to prevent them as much as possible. To rate well with clients in this area, actively solicit opinions and perceptions—including negative ones—from your clients. While more than half (55.3%) of very satisfied clients felt their advisors wanted to hear their complaints and feedback, a mere 6.5% of very dissatisfied clients felt this way.

Not only will this help you spot and head off major problems but it also will clearly demonstrate your concern about service to your clients. In addition, whenever an external disaster occurs, you will do well to get in touch immediately with clients.

3. Warmth. Good manners are not enough: Virtually all clients, satisfied and dissatisfied, believe their advisors are generally courteous. Affluent clients are looking for true emotional warmth. When asked if their advisors are warm, 64.3% of highly satisfied clients said yes, while only one-quarter of dissatisfied clients had this response. Keep this in mind as you make your hiring decisions. If your staff needs help in this area (or you do), consider classes to help improve interpersonal skills.

4. Active communication. Your clients want to be kept informed not just about their portfolios and financial progress but also about important changes at your firm and with your staff. Don't let your clients hear about personnel changes from competing advisors; this is the type of negative surprise you want to avoid.

Very satisfied clients scored their advisors well in this area, with 77.9% believing their advisors provide information in a timely manner; 75.3% acknowledge their advisors' efforts to give regular briefings. As can be expected, very dissatisfied clients scored their advisors poorly, with just 19.4% feeling that they received timely information.

Given how important it is to affluent clients to be kept up to date, it would be wise to incorporate tools into your client database that help you flag any relevant situations and issues.

5. Listening skills. Affluent clients want advisors who pay attention. Listening skills are, therefore, another important element in client satisfaction. Too often, advisors believe they must educate their clients, as opposed to listening to their needs, fears, and wants. Your goal, as always, should be to learn more about your affluent clients, and listening is the way that you will do that. A significantly greater number of satisfied clients believed their advisors spent enough time listening. That said, customize your approach based on your client base—some of whom will prefer short, task-oriented meetings, and others who may prefer drawn-out conversations where a range of financial and non-financial matters are discussed.

6. Client focus. Affluent clients generally care about having you focus on their needs. You have to be able to convey the sense to each client that you are striving to understand his or her unique needs and provide individual solutions. Specifically, 75.7% of satisfied clients felt their advisors made a significant effort to understand their unique needs, compared with only 25.8% of dissatisfied clients.

Your approach to being client-centric will depend largely on the types of clients you serve. For example, if you work with family-steward types who care primarily about taking care of their loved ones, you'll want to make sure to bring up key family members in your discussions (perhaps even getting them involved in your client meetings, where appropriate), and remember family occasions such as birthdays.

Not about Skills
Interestingly, your competence is not a huge factor in determining client satisfaction, because clients assume their advisors are competent. Even clients who are very dissatisfied with their advisors are still likely to rate them high in the area of competence. This doesn't mean you shouldn't justify your clients' view of your competence, of course. Most of the items you create through your credibility marketing efforts—including articles, research papers, and books—will all serve to reinforce your affluent clients' belief in your competence as a wealth manager.

In the end, we all know it's much smarter to keep your ideal clients satisfied and loyal than to be forced to constantly attract new business. By taking the right steps to ensure a highly satisfied client base, you will position your practice for stronger growth—and get more enjoyment from the work.


John J. Bowen Jr., a Financial Planning columnist, is founder and CEO of CEG Worldwide of San Martin, California, a global training, research, and consulting firm for advisors.

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