In our “Gen D in Focus” series we got to know Generation D investors, a group that is increasingly dependent on technology to interact with the world. Our study of financial advisors revealed that Gen D advisors–some 75 percent–share the same command of digital technology as Gen D investors, yet as we learned in my “last post“, investors’ confidence in financial advisors is eroding. How can we close the gap?

Knowing—and connecting—with investors

Our online survey of 400 US financial advisors revealed three key findings:

  • A surprising disconnect exists. The financial crisis has shaken up investors’ trust in the industry and increased the need for investors to feel in control. Yet in comparing investor and advisor responses to Accenture survey questions, significant perception gaps were evident. Advisors tend to seriously overestimate investor knowledge and the strength of their relationships with clients, while underestimating the importance of the relationship itself. Advisors also tend to misunderstand their clients’ investment style.
  • Digital/social tools are becoming table stakes. These tools offer advisors the ability to interact with their clients more frequently and at a deeper level, and help advisors draw from a richer referral network. The good news is advisors are open to using digital tools—85 percent agree that if they build a social network for their firm, investors will come.
  • Gen D advisors are seeing results. Advisors are seeing significant success from their digital/social media efforts. Seventy-seven percent of advisors agree that social media has helped with client retention and 73 percent say it has led to an overall increase in client interactions.

For advisors to remain relevant to Gen D investors, it’s more and more apparent that they have to turn to digital and social tools—the good news is they already know how to use them and they’re reaping the rewards. But advisors must first understand where the disconnects lie, otherwise they could be undermining their efforts.

To learn more, download Gen D Advisor Summary – Closing the Gap: How Tech-Savvy Advisors Can Regain Investor Trust (pdf; opens in a new window).

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