28 October 2020

The New Face of Wealth Advice: It’s Personalized

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In a world where Amazon and Instagram know what consumers want before they do, investors have come to expect an experience with their advisers that is just as simple, intuitive and personalized. A recent Broadridge survey of investors explored just how important personalization was – especially for those on the younger side of the generational spectrum.

When asked what communications they most wanted from their adviser, respondents cited four types of personalized information. After a “comprehensive view of their accounts,” the next three underscored personalization preferences that, in effect, invited financial advisers to engage in deeper dialogues with them.

The second, “money-saving tips tailored for them” indicated their defensiveness in coping with today’s uncertainties. The third preference showed an interest in having advisers share “ideas for new investment vehicles that could work for them.” The fourth preference for a “personalized analysis of investing habits” was practically an open invitation for a financial planning discussion.

To meet these new demands, advisers need to adapt their processes in ways that allow them to focus on personalization, preferences and online behavioral data to deliver the right recommendations and services at the right time — and technology empowers them to do just that.

NO GOING BACK

Things are different after a pandemic. Fifty-one percent of investors said they will have “fundamentally changed” how they will communicate with their advisers after the current crisis is over.

For the adviser, customizing each client’s experience begins with knowing what they are already doing online. When the market gets choppy, advisers must know in advance how to contact each client the way they wish to be reached, whether that’s by text, phone, email or app. Digital communication builds trust between advisers and investors too. According to research from the CFA Institute, nearly half of retail investors said they trust their advisers more because of their increased use of technology.

However, while investors search for the tailored tips and investment ideas they want, many advisers and wealth managers report that they’re struggling to keep up. A Broadridge survey of advisers and wealth managers detailed this shortfall: Since the beginning of the pandemic, 77% of advisers reported losing business due to inadequate technology, while 51% said they’re even thinking of leaving their current firm.

The challenges created by Covid-19 have only exacerbated this digital divide. Without the technology tools to support client relationships at a distance, many advisers say they are hampered by inadequate means for communicating with or serving their clients.

A LOOK AHEAD

Today’s crisis provides a concentrated moment in which digital leaders can find themselves delivering new, personalized solutions ahead of their competition — even as new advice demands arise. A recent Nationwide study pointed out that the pandemic has driven one in four American investors to seek the help of an adviser for the first time ever. On the other hand, digital delays have their consequences. It’s business-critical for wealth managers to continuously improve their methods for acquiring and retaining advisers and clients. As client demands for personalized advice increases, firms must make sure to provide their advisers with the technology they need or they may risk losing business — and advisers- to other firms.

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