73 Percent of Advisors Say Millennials & Gen Z Require Different Engagement than Boomers & Gen X
While the right technology may give financial advisors an edge, the wrong technology can cost them real dollars and real clients. A new report by Advisor360°, a leading provider of integrated technology for broker-dealers and other wealth managers, finds that 65 percent of advisors surveyed from a wide range of firms across the industry have lost business from clients or prospects due to outdated wealth management technology.
“Firms with the right technology improve their advisors’ ability to offer robust financial guidance and form deeper client connections, which ultimately translates into strong, healthy businesses”
More than half (58%) of the 300 respondents surveyed in the inaugural Advisor360° Connected Wealth Report classify their technology as “modern,” but only 3 percent would call it “integrated and innovative.” The remainder — 39 percent — say they need a technological upgrade. Respondents who say they have modern technology are 50 percent more likely to report growth in new client assets and 33 percent more likely to get client referrals, compared to those who say their technology needs an upgrade.
“Technology can be a game changer for advisors who want to grow their business,” says Richard N. Hart, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Advisor360°. “Firms that can’t innovate to today’s standards or don’t stack up to peers are leaving money on the table.”
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More than half of advisors who report losing business because their wealth management technology did not meet expectations, say this has happened with prospects. The remainder report losing business from existing clients.
Advisors Say Current Wealth Technology Has Gaps
The findings reveal that firms need to assess how well their existing technology enables advisors to work with clients, since 53 percent of respondents consider their technology to be an extension of their practice. Nearly 30 percent of advisors believe that their current technology holds them back when it comes to new business.
Still, though their current setup may not be perfect, the majority of those surveyed give their existing wealth management platforms high marks for enabling them to focus on their most important clients (67%) and deliver robust financial planning advice (63%).
Advisors believe that digital onboarding could have the biggest impact on their practice and the way they work with clients. Indeed, 25 percent of those surveyed categorize their current onboarding process as a “constraint” when it comes to getting new client relationships off the ground.
Advisors’ biggest gripes about their existing platforms concern the lack of automation and functionality. For example, the survey reveals that 41 percent of advisors spend two hours on average scheduling, running, and reconciling reports before each client meeting — and 26 percent spend more than two hours. In addition, 58 percent of advisors say their account aggregation capabilities need to be improved.
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Advisors Seek to Stay Connected with Clients
Advisors surveyed believe that the most important aspect of a client’s digital wealth experience is their ability to see a complete picture of their financial lives. Firms may have work to do on this front. Forty-three percent of respondents say their technology is primarily advisor facing, not client facing, signaling that clients may be due for a refresh.
Advisors report that their clients are product-savvy, so they want technology that gives them access to products that are specific to their clients’ financial goals. In fact, they say client demand is highest for structured investments, followed by annuities and long-term care insurance.
Advisors are also striving to use technology to connect with clients in ways that are familiar outside of the financial planning world. Though 73 percent of advisors say millennials and Gen Z require a different type of engagement than baby boomers and Gen X clients, tech-savviness has no age barriers. More than three-quarters (76%) of advisors noted that the ability to securely text or direct message clients of all ages has transformed client relations. Eight in 10 (82%) say that integrating social media platforms into client-facing tools is a must-have; in fact, nearly 30 percent consider this to be extremely important.
“Firms with the right technology improve their advisors’ ability to offer robust financial guidance and form deeper client connections, which ultimately translates into strong, healthy businesses,” said Hart.
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