E-advice, robo advice, automated advice; the pervasion of financial advice delivered through technology continues apace, although many financial advisers feel we are a way off the tipping point where the old practices of existing clients must be balanced with the new practices of potential clients.
As with many things in life, timing is everything and whilst it’s difficult to predict the pace of growth in online advice, we can look to other parts of the financial sector for clues as to the future.
The recent announcement of a spate of bank branch closures across the UK highlights this case in point. The banks are shutting down branches in a purely numbers driven exercise. The majority of us access our bank accounts and finances online. The need for branches has diminished so, therefore, they have become increasingly obsolete.
The media coverage of these closures focussed on one type of consumer; the vulnerable elderly who have accessed their banking facilities in the same manner their entire lives. They pop to their local branch to pay in cheques and take cash out.
The same issue exists for financial advisers. Their business is increasingly online. Their practice management system is in the main, online. Their clients are certainly online. It makes sense to marry these elements, increasing data security, cleaning up audit trails and offering up to the minute, real time financial overviews to clients.
This process of business evolution is becoming obvious to the adviser, but what about the client?
Many existing clients are happy to pay the going hourly rate to access face to face advice. These tend to be the higher net worth individuals with larger portfolios. They, too, are generally older clients. They are comfortable with how things are and the state of their finances.
This client segment is not going away, certainly not as quickly as the local branch of your bank, although research has found that even they are increasingly demanding online services to compliment face to face advice. But there is a shifting of the sands taking place.
‘Wealth in waiting’
Younger generations, certainly Millennials, are financially interactive with internet banking. You haven’t seen any of them on the news bemoaning the demise of their local bank branch. They receive and pay their money online. They review their statements and amend their savings portfolios online. They receive a very limited paper trail from their bank.
They expect, or will expect, the same from their financial adviser. They won’t want face to face meetings and they won’t want hard copies of client documents to stow away. They’ll want everything in one, online space, where they can access your advice alongside their full financial portfolio.
Millennials are unlikely to have the same net worth as your existing, older clients at present. Their goals will be different, too. But they do represent a valuable emerging client segment to the future worth of your advice business; the ‘wealth in waiting’.
If financial advisers can reach out to and service this demographic now, they could well represent the higher net worth individuals of tomorrow, thereby boosting your pipeline and growing your business.
Even if you envisage selling your business because you yourself will be retiring within the next 10 to 15 years, having a healthy ‘wealth in waiting’ pipeline will only add value to your advice business.For more information on incorporating Personal Finance Portal into your business and how it can help you advise your clients online, visit https://www.intelliflo.com/pfp-digital-advice