Clients have come to expect a certain level of service, accessibility, and responsiveness in their day-to-day lives. Consumers’ increasingly digital lifestyles are changing traditional customer service models more than ever. Mobile access now offers the opportunity to deliver highly personalized customer service experiences 24/7. That said, you can expect the future client base to be more diverse, as they become more mobile.
Financial advisors can use technology to enhance their overall value to their clients. By enabling advisors to have the ability to access and share information while connecting with clients in real-time and on-demand they will increase their position of strength with their clients. This technology can also provide an important new level of transparency for investors. New solutions, such as e-signatures and portal-based performance reporting, give investors a direct line of sight into their finances, including how their advisor is implementing advice and overall progress against long-term goals.
Understanding what your clients expect from you is just as important as planning for the next generation of investors. Are you ready to meet those expectations?
Whether it is creating a robust online presence through websites for your firm or harnessing mobile and cloud technology which will allow you to adapt and deliver service the way these clients expect it, now is exactly the right time to focus on the future with regard to building the overall strength of your firm.
Planning for the next generation of investors is important because much of the industry’s current success has been built on a now aging population. According to Financial Advisor Magazine, nearly 70 percent of financial advisor’s clients are retired or expected to retire within the next 10 years and, among this group, 63 percent are drawing down their portfolios, including principal. At the same time, there is $16 trillion in wealth transfer expected by 2050 and, more than $3.5 trillion is already in the hands of millenials and Generation X.
Another caveat: By 2020, women will control nearly $11 trillion, with 70 percent of the expected $16 trillion in wealth transfer handed over to women. Therefore, clients will be more racially and culturally diverse, too. If you don’t have anyone in your firm who resembles another ethnic group or another background — half of our client firms don’t have a woman in an advisor or leadership role — this is really going to be challenging.
How can you prepare to give your clients what they expect? Advisors need to take active steps at the individual firm level to be out in front of this opportunity.
There are four key ways for financial advisors to position their firms for success:
Make yourself known by developing a clear firm value proposition and then communicating your value proposition across your network.
Demonstrate how you are different. Millennials and Generation X investors are looking for an advisor who can build a trusted relationship based on empathy and understanding of the whole person, not just their financial goal. Identify, acquire and develop the right talent to connect with and understand the new generation of investors.
Ignite changes happening within your firm. You have an opportunity to lead and shape everything from relationships to new models to emerging technologies. You have helped make this industry what it is today have the opportunity to apply your experience to the coming changes to ensure a vibrant future for your firm.
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 ThinkAdvisor, November 6, 2014: Schwab’s Hathi: What Clients Expect Now.