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BLOG. 2 min read

The Digital Gap Between Asset Managers and Advisors is Growing

The digital experience an asset manager offers has long affected advisors’ perception of a firm and, at times, even been a tipping point in their decision to do business with a firm. Yet in the four years that we’ve published our annual Digital Engagement Leaders study, the gap between what advisors seek and the online experiences most firms provide continues to grow—and firms that lag now may soon be too far behind to catch up.

Because unlike most of today’s advisors and investors, members of the next generation are digital natives. That means that a lifetime of online interactions has created high expectations for convenience, mobility, transparency, and relevance—and those expectations are a big factor in their buying decisions. 

And when there isn’t a company offering a better digital platform with a more customer-centric experience, the next generation is leveraging technology and reinventing business models to deliver their vision of how things should be for the customer. As a result, they’re disrupting many industries by creating new categories of competitors—such as ridesharing companies, e-payments, and no-fee “neo-banks.”

It’s critical to understand that this is NOT just about millennials.

Older generations are buying into the next generation’s vision and adopting their higher standards as well. The result is directly impacting what investors of all ages are looking for and how advisors are doing business.

And as our recent research shows, the gap between the digital experiences that next-generation advisors need and those that asset managers provide is becoming enormous:

  • 4 in 10 millennial advisors say recommending relevant content based on their needs and interests would tip the balance in favor of a firm, but only 11.1% of firms use personalization to deliver more relevant content at the top of the website home page
  • Virtually all next-generation advisors are reading emails on their smartphones daily, but emails from just 5.4% of firms didn’t require resizing to read on an iPhone
  • Despite the importance of fee transparency in building trust with the next generation, just 3 in 10 firms clearly list loads and break out fees on product profiles

In 4 Ways to Set Up Your Digital Experiences for Success with the Next Generation, we explore how asset managers can win the business and loyalty of the next generation of advisors and investors—and everyone else who follows their lead—by evolving their digital experience in four key ways:

  • Show them you know them
  • Enable seamless digital self-service
  • Be transparent to enhance credibility
  • Focus on the person, not the company

The report also identifies a number of best practices within each of these for engaging the next generation of advisors and investors and offers examples of how asset managers are implementing these best practices.

Research into the next generation’s expectations and needs, as well as best practices for engaging prospects and customers online, informed the criteria used to evaluate the digital experiences firms provide across website, email and social media channels, on desktop and smartphones, and to determine this year’s overall Digital Engagement Leaders in Asset Management.


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