The proliferation of data and being in the digital age has been marked by changes in the way people communicate and share information. In my previous blogs, I’ve discussed the importance of challenging the traditional advisory model by offering hybrid advice. The results of a recent pivotal survey we conducted have validated these trends. The survey consisted of a series of questions about investor behavior and preferences with regards to advisory models within wealth management. There were over 1,300 respondents in the US and Canada, equally weighted between men and women, and across all age groups and wealth tiers. I’ve summarized some key findings from the survey:
- There’s still a role for human advisors but their value to investors is changing. Despite the preponderance of digital tools, access to a live advisor is still important. 60% of investors said it’s important for them to know their advisors on a personal level, meaning there’s an essential element of the interaction that’s impossible to replicate on a digital platform. However, clients do not necessarily prefer the advice of a single individual, which ties into the next point around customization.
- One-size-fits-all service is obsolete. 62% of respondents believe they are knowledgeable about investing, a direct result of the information sharing that characterizes the digital age. On the other hand, 66% want support when investing in new and specialized products. Fully digital models may rely too heavily on digital tools and having access to at least one advisor could provide as a modicum of support.
- Digital tools are no longer differentiators. 80% of respondents stated that their current firm already offered the digital tools they needed to invest well. In other words, digital tools are no longer innovative solutions – they’re “table stakes”.
- Hybrid models are converging and will likely see further growth in the future. The industry is becoming an ecosystem of advice: relationships are becoming more symbiotic as the advisor looks to the investor for insights on how to provide desired advice and support.
Wealth management firms need to recognize these trends and integrate them into their business models in order to provide the most value to their clients. Nonetheless, hybrid advice models are still in their infancy and it’s important for an aspiring frontrunner of the hybrid model to evaluate and manage capabilities for the changing market: the ability to choose services that fit their needs, access digital tools and have the ability to consult an advisor are all on top of the investor wish list.
I’m excited to share additional findings in a series of blog posts with new insights from our survey data. Stay tuned to find out how hybrid advice fits into the industry and how to best position your firm to be prepared for the impending changes. I also look forward to meeting some you during our executive roundtables in St. Louis, MO, New York City and Toronto.
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