In May 2012, Accenture launched a research project to gather insights into “Generation D” investors and advisors—Millennials, Gen-Xers and Boomers who depend increasingly on digital interactions. Our goal? To gather empirical evidence on how changes in demographics and technology are affecting investment habits and wealth management business models.
First, we must get to know the digital generation, understand who they are and determine whether our assumptions about them are accurate. Is it true, for example, that the average Generation D investor is a well-educated, community-oriented Millennial who is leery of financial institutions? How do technologically sophisticated Boomers and social media-savvy Gen-Xers fit into the picture?
Next, we’ll examine what this digital generation means for firm strategy. Attitudes toward investment and wealth management vary considerably from one generation to the next, and can play an important role in your firm’s strategy. Accenture’s Kendra Thompson touched on the idea in part 2 of our Wealth Legacy series, when she examined how Baby Boomers and their heirs approach advisor-led services.
With this research project, we are zeroing in on the questions that matter most:
- What roles can digital and social channels play in investor-advisor relationships?
- How can firms retain assets as wealth changes hands between generations?
- Do firms need different digital strategies for different age groups within the digital generation?
Right now, Accenture is hosting four focus groups, and surveying 1,000 investors and as many as 500 financial advisors, to find out. Stay tuned for updates as the project unfolds.