Covid-19 adviser-investor comms changes to remain post-pandemic, says survey

Changes in how investors and financial advisors collaborate, at first caused by Covid-19, are likely to remain long after the pandemic, according to a new survey from Broadridge Financial Solutions.

Over half (57 per cent) of investors surveyed said communications with their advisor had changed in some way in light of new stay-at-home mandates. Sixty-two percent of those who reported a change in mode of communication said they would entirely or partially maintain their new methods after the pandemic ends. Fifty-eight percent cited phone calls and 46 per cent cited emails as new ways that they communicated with their advisor during the pandemic. More than a third (36 per cent) used video chat, even though only 9 per cent prefer the method above all others. Millennial investors were most likely to use video chat with their advisor (59 per cent).

"We are seeing an accelerated adoption of digitalisation and personalisation from investors, financial advisors, and wealth firms as a result of the pandemic," says Michael Alexander, President of Wealth Management at Broadridge. "Advisors and investors adapted their behaviours to comply with stay-at-home mandates and social distancing rules, which led to an increase in digital communications and video conferencing, more personalised emails, and more frequent phone calls. These behaviours are broadening, deepening and changing the client-advisor relationship. As a result, investors don't want a return to the past. They largely prefer this new normal."

An overwhelming majority of Gen Z (86 per cent) and Millennials (87 per cent) said they are comfortable having an advisor follow them on social media to offer a more customised experience. Meanwhile, only 60 per cent of Gen X and 20 per cent of Baby Boomers are comfortable.
Facebook is the top social media platform where Millennials (66 per cent), Gen X (46 per cent) and Baby Boomers (15 per cent) would feel comfortable with their FA following them, while Gen Z is most comfortable with advisors following them on Instagram (53 per cent). Fifty per cent of Millennials are also comfortable with advisors following them on Instagram.
Millennials (87 per cent) and Gen Z (86 per cent) are most likely to be receptive to reading adviser communications on social media as opposed to Gen X (59 per cent) and Baby Boomers (18 per cent).
Despite 44 per cent of respondents stating that they discovered their financial advisor through a personal referral, nearly half (44 per cent) reported that their advisor has not communicated with their spouse, partner, children, grandchildren or heir.
"With clients spending more time at home due to the pandemic, advisors have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop a deeper relationship with their client's entire family," says Alexander. "It doesn't have to be more complicated than a video conference. This is a natural moment to engage, educate and communicate with spouses, partners and children."