Pierre Bossaert, Vice President of Product at Fiserv, recently wrote an article entitled, “Advisors Must Expand Product Offerings and Approach”. In the piece, Bossaert addresses one of the most imminent challenges faced by the financial services industry today: How can advisors remain relevant to “NextGen” investors? NextGen (Gen X + Gen Y) investors are a vastly different breed than the Baby Boomer generation most advisors have grown accustomed to working with.
These younger investors have accumulated investable assets [however] their preferences for interacting with advisors are likely not being met by the advisory model that has proven successful for baby boomer clients. While most baby boomers prefer face-to-face collaboration and printed financial plans, NextGen investors are accustomed to electronic, fast-paced engagement styles. …As baby boomers retire and spend their assets, NextGen investors are in accumulation mode, saving for a variety of life events. If approached effectively, advisors can engage them as long-term investors.
Why should advisors care? Because they’re taking over the market. Currently there are 75% more NextGen consumers than Baby Boomers. Factor in attrition rates, and their dominance of the financial services market only becomes more dominant.
Why should advisors care now? Because they’re here. In less than 24 months, the NextGen group begins to hit age 35, the beginning of peak earning years. Tomorrow’s too late. These investors are here now.
So, what to do?
4 Steps to Survive ‘NextGen Revolution’
First, you must understand their unique perspective on financial markets.
These investors lived through the stock market highs of 2007, followed by the 2008 economic recession and are now accustomed to volatile markets, high unemployment rates and rising health care costs. As much as they want to retire comfortably, NextGen investorsalso have to worry about their present-day financial situation.
Second, you need to understand what this all means for your business.
They are likely to pursue a self-directed investment strategy, and proactively utilize online resources. …While they are more likely to seek out information on their own, especially if their financial advisor isn’t quick to respond, they still need validation that the information they have obtained is correct. This “trust, but verify” approach is the reason many advisors are adding Personal Financial Management (PFM) tools to their technology systems. PFM offers a reduced level of advisor-to-client engagement, so the overall management of finances is more collaborative.
Third, you need to make serious changes to the way you do business, and now.
To provide the best blend of advice and self-service requires a web-based unified wealth management platform with client-facing portals andinvestor needs-analysis capabilities. These tools provide the transparency that investors are seeking, while also allowing an advisor to garner enough detail to effectively manage their client meetings. Accessible via apps on tablets, smartphones and browsers, these financial advice management tools facilitate the creation of proposals, suggested plans and reports on-the-fly to meet the expectations of fast-paced investors.
Last but not least, recognize and appreciate the fact that the tools required to service NextGen investors will actually improve your bottom line.
Technology tools available today make data collection more efficient and save investors and advisors the costs related to old-school information gathering. An online experience helps advisors save time and energy as it facilitates on-demand live interactions with their clients, eliminating the need for one party to physically travel to meet the other. Recent advances in client-facing portals enable financial advisors to present liability information and financial strategies in a clear and relatable fashion. Seeing their portfolio strategies elegantly illustrated is a significant draw for NextGen Investors who are looking for ways to pay down liabilities and improve their cash flow.
Bossaert warns readers it’s time to pay attention. We’re about to hit a financial service revolution driven by the wants and needs of these dynamic investors. He left readers with a final thought: “Advisors that can attract the next generation of investors today with custom, convenient and transparent financial advice will have an array of assets to manage in the future.”