We recently partnered with Broadridge on a survey to gain a deeper understanding of the current profile of FSI members and discover opportunities where they – along with the broader industry – can move forward and grow their businesses.
Independent research firm 8 Acre Perspective oversaw the study, which was distributed via email to all members in November. In the end, we gathered nearly 500 responses.
Overall, the survey results – which we unveiled at OneVoice – showed that members see growth opportunities in several areas. Below is a high-level overview of the findings.
Growth through Technology
Though 92% of respondents were satisfied with their technology capabilities, many within that group felt like there is room for their firms to do more. One area of potential improvement: Tools that can augment business development activities in today’s digital environment. Nearly a third of advisors expressed interest in prospecting outside of their current geographic location and want access to solutions that will allow them to reach these prospects virtually.
Chris Perry, President of Broadridge Financial Solutions, noted the critical role tech is poised to play going forward in the lives of advisors and clients.
“This study highlights the growth opportunities for advisors and the heightened role technology plays in enabling advisors to provide a better service experience, foster deeper relationships and reach new constituencies,” he said.
The Rise of Crypto and Socially Responsible Investing
As crypto-related news continues to make headlines, it’s no surprise that investors are looking at this area to boost their returns. According to the study, 64% of advisors reported seeing an increased interest in cryptocurrencies from clients. In addition, 33% of advisors said that clients have developed an appetite for socially responsible ESG investments.
Yet as these vehicles gain more mainstream acceptance, advisors will have to work doubly hard to ensure that clients understand the risks, FSI President & CEO Dale Brown says.
“With clients’ growing interest in branching out to new asset classes, financial literacy is of the utmost importance, and advisors have a clear role to play,” he said. “There is a significant opportunity for advisors to educate current and prospective clients and empower them to make better financial decisions, especially in underserved communities.”
Virtual Client Meetings and Social Media
With some of the challenges related to COVID beginning to recede, 51% of advisors reported that they are still conducting formal client meetings virtually – either via phone or video conferencing tools like Zoom. Moreover, advisors anticipate that to continue, with 39% saying they expect to increase their video conferencing usage in the next 12 months (versus the 21% who currently use video). At the same time, 88% of advisors expect to either increase or maintain their current rate of in-person, formal client meetings in 2022.
Expanding Family Connections to Spouses and the Next Generation
Nearly every advisor appreciates the coming “Great Wealth Transfer,” with Cerulli Associates estimating that nearly 45 million U.S. households will hand over $68 trillion of wealth to their children over the next 25 years. Regrettably, most of those children won’t do business with their parent’s financial advisor once they receive that inheritance, something else the industry knows all too well.
Our study, however, shows that advisors are beginning to work proactively to change that narrative. Eighty-nine percent either have engaged or are planning to engage with children or grandchildren of existing clients. Of these advisors, 79% broached the topic with their clients directly, and 55% offered their clients’ children or grandchildren financial literacy lessons.
In addition to building relationships with the next generation, many have also prioritized engaging their clients’ spouses in financial discussions. Nine in 10 advisors considered it essential to maintain a strong relationship with both spouses. Further, advisors said that 68% of formal client meetings include both spouses.