Age is emerging as a significant factor in how the next generation of financial advisors and investors interacts with asset managers.
Born after 1980, millennial advisors have grown up fundamentally differently from previous generations. They have always experienced digital interactions, transactions and communications through joysticks, controllers, keyboards and smartphones. Their behavior and choices have shaped their entire digital experience, and their subsequent use of online platforms for payments, reservations and entertainment reinforces expectations for digital interactions and relationships that are sophisticated, responsive, simple and convenient. Of course, the use of new platforms, devices and business models is by no means limited to younger advisors and investors — the high adoption rates by earlier generations cannot be ignored.
The highly individualized and relevant experiences advisors have elsewhere in the digital ecosystem naturally inform their expectations for asset manager websites. When technology and data enable so much to be known about individual advisors, it isn’t surprising that they expect those insights to inform their customer experience.
In our latest report on Connecting with the Next Generation of Advisors, we explore how advisors navigate their digital decision journeys to learn about asset managers with which they are unfamiliar, consider their products, do business with them and become advocates for them. Where significant, we dive into the differences in expectations of advisors due to age and the implications for asset managers working with them.
Not surprisingly, significantly more millennial than older advisors expect asset managers to know who they are and what they like, and to use that information to make it easy and efficient to do business in a number of ways. Here are four of them:
- Matching products you recommend to their preferences
- Displaying only those products available on their platforms
- Showing them what advisors like them are viewing
- Recommending their next best action
At the very least, the majority of advisors expect the investment products recommended to them to match their transaction history and investment management preferences. Nearly one-half of advisors expect to be shown and recommended only those funds that are on their platforms. Indeed, why should they have to sort through products that are not available to them?
In this era of ratings and rankings, many of us are used to seeing which content or product other purchasers like us are viewing or buying. A significant percentage of advisors want to see what other advisors like them are viewing. A few firms already feature this capability on their websites. And experiencing this feature leads naturally to advisors’ expectations that the next steps to learn or act will be recommended during their website visits. The best way to influence an advisor’s decision journey is to provide helpful and individually relevant guidance and information, which today’s data-powered technology solutions make easy to do.
Financial advisors have never been a homogeneous audience, even if many asset managers have communicated with them as though they are. Over the years, we have encouraged asset managers to look at this diverse and changing audience through different lenses, including behavior and practice management. But age hasn’t been a significant factor until now. The confluence of data-driven technology, devices, platforms and communication channels is the only environment younger generations have ever experienced. The profound influence this has on their expectations and choices is game-changing for every industry — including wealth and asset management.
Leading firms are paying close attention to these harbingers of industry transformation as they retool their products and services to meet the expectations of investors and their advisors.
Written by Julia Binder
Head of Strategic Marketing Research