The rise of online banking in the late 1990s and early 2000s not only transformed how banks interact with their customers, but also opened the public’s eyes to the potential of digital technology. In the intervening years, consumers have grown accustomed to automated service and 24/7 access in most areas of their lives. The Internet has become a powerful and widely used tool for finding information, researching products and services, comparing prices and—with the advent of social media, in particular—sharing information.
It’s only in recent years, however, that we are witnessing the effects in wealth management. Specifically, wealth management firms are increasingly dealing with a new kind of investor—one that’s tech-savvy, well-informed and empowered.
The tech-savvy consumer
As of early 2014, there are more Millennials than Baby Boomers in the United States. Boomers still hold more assets, but Millennials’ wealth is growing and their influence is already evident among modern investors of all ages. The modern investor is Millennial in spirit, if not age, demanding the kind of instant information and access on demand that only digital technology can provide.
The well-informed investor
Ninety percent of financial advisors in a recent Accenture survey said that their clients are more knowledgeable about investment product options and the investing process than they were five years ago. They may not be experts, but today’s investors are more engaged and less inclined to sit back and let their advisors take charge.
The empowered client
Modern investors want access to financial planning and portfolio management tools that let them see, track and compare investments—and even invest themselves—in real time. They are constantly pushing the envelope, questioning their advisors, and demanding transparency.
Our survey found that one-third of clients question the fees charged by their advisor, whether it’s the cost of the service or the pay structure itself. Investors are not opposed to paying for good financial advice, but they do expect value and they aren’t afraid to switch firms or advisors if they feel like they’re not getting it.
Next time, we’ll take a closer look at how wealth management firms and others are responding to this new kind of client. In the meantime, get to know the modern investor better in “Wealth Management for the Modern Investor: How Digital Technology is Changing the Client-Advisor Relationship”
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