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More than one-third of investors have yet to find their optimal advice relationship
October 2019, BOSTON—Younger investors are proving to be hungry for advice, but scale providers are limited by the variety of challenges in crafting truly useful personalized advice. Digital advice platforms can do an excellent job implementing and managing portfolios, but investors want more from their financial advice providers. According to Cerulli Associates' latest report, U.S. Retail Investor Advice Relationships 2019: Scaling Personalized Advice, two-thirds of investors indicate that they prefer human interaction to relying solely on technology tools. Moving forward, wealth managers’ success will increasingly be tied to their ability to use technology to expand their advisors’ ability to connect with clients.
“Top providers are spending millions annually touting their wealth management offerings to prospective clients, but many investors have yet to find their optimal relationship,” explains Scott Smith, director of advice relationships at Cerulli. Of investors polled in 2Q 2019, 37% indicate that they would prefer to receive more investment advice than they have in the past. This means that more than one-third of investors believe they are being underserved with respect to their financial advice relationships. “To better address this opportunity, providers must reevaluate their marketing efforts to assure that they are actually addressing topics of interest to prospects rather than touting the strength of capabilities largely irrelevant to them,” Smith adds.
Advisors increasingly recognize that the client experience their practice offers is their real differentiating feature. When designing their platforms, advice provider firms must bear this in mind and should develop a service model that leverages technology to expand their advisors’ ability to connect with clients. “Technology tools can do an excellent job at helping clients and advisors through processes like data aggregation and initial assessment, but they are simply not the interface many prospects would prefer to use when working through the details of the ongoing comprehensive planning process,” explains Smith.
Providers must use digital technology tools at their disposal to help human advisors identify and address the full breadth of clients’ financial needs, both from objective and emotional perspectives. “The real value of advisors will not be in capturing excess returns versus a benchmark, but in identifying the next best action in helping improve their clients’ outcomes. In some cases, the answer may include a portfolio update, but it could just as easily be collaborating to assure that established goals actually align with what would provide clients a satisfying retirement,” concludes Smith.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
These findings and more are from The Cerulli Report—U.S. Retail Investor Advice Relationships 2019: Scaling Personalized Advice.
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