With the recent news of a wirehouse tabling cold calling, client prospecting has formally abandoned its Ma Bell roots and moving engagement and outreach to social media platforms, professional or otherwise. This development comes at an exciting time: demand for advice has never been greater, yet many prospective clients don’t know where to look. That’s not to say there aren’t choices. There are too many competing voices in market where services seem indistinguishable to new market players and providers. Some may not know where to start (equating account minimums with access) while others look for a specific solution for a targeted financial need.
There’s a change happening in the way investors want to engage with financial advisors, empowering investors (current and potential) with access, flexibility and choice. In fact, 73% of those 40 or younger rely on a Google search to find an advisor, while 52% say they use LinkedIni —a call to action for advisors as they reinvent prospecting and client engagement. If this is the new way of working, what else can and should change at wealth management firms regarding identifying, onboarding and retaining clients? And, more importantly, how can technology help bridge the gap between the old ways of working and the new advice paradigm across the client lifecycle?
We felt it was the right time to hear directly from those who use wealth management services to explore these and other issues. We interviewed a thousand wealth consumers services across the United States and Canada in the March of 2021. We heard from consumers across race, gender, wealth, education, location, profession and age to understand what investors want from their wealth managers in connection with financial advice, products and planning. We researched what changed with advice, what needs to change and what’s on the fringe likely to impact consumption, education and delivery.
We intentionally designed our research to focus more on the “what” of advice (with respect to product, offerings and demand) rather than the “how” of delivery (technology enablement and innovation). It’s interesting – advice innovation historically focused on accessibility and engagement. In light of the pandemic, we hypothesized the pendulum would swing back to the offering itself as many investors face uncomfortable conversations around mortality, asset preservation and even their location.
I’m happy to share some of the initial findings regarding prospecting:
- Identifying new clients. Wealth consumers indicated that the top three reasons why they decided to work with their current financial advisor are: (1) investment offering menu (44%); (2) technology offering / engagement (42%); and (3) brand (36%). We believe that clients are more focused on the firm’s core competencies of product, planning and advice, with technology acting as a key delivery component.
- Onboarding new clients. Clients are happy with onboarding technology, as 71% indicated they found their advisor’s intake and onboarding technology process was a positive / somewhat positive experience. Comparatively speaking, this was the lowest scored positive experience, behind planning and forecasting (84%), money movement (84%) and advisor engagement (87%)ii. There’s still room for improvement, and we believe an end-to-end digital experience help firms stand out even more in the space.
- Strengthening existing client relationships. We found an astonishing 86% of investors with over $10M in wealth felt their advice was generic, and 87% of investors with over $10M in wealth felt the tech experience could improve by more reporting visualization tools. It’s not entirely surprising, however, as the expectations generally advance at the same rate of technology innovation, particularly with in other high CX-focused industries. Taken together, there’s a clear opportunity in the space for firms to pivot their digital focus on poaching dissatisfied clients while making the intake process as streamlined and as efficient as possible.
I look forward to sharing our forthcoming survey results in the coming weeks with you to help you understand if your firm is complacent, or if it’s concerned. I’m also speaking at Aite’s Digital Innovation Forum on this topic, so please reach out if you’d like to discuss in the interim.
ii Accenture Wealth Management Consumer Study, 2021