The coronavirus pandemic abruptly forced financial ser- vices firms to swiftly go digitalwith essentials to conducting businessfar sooner than they had likely planned.What’s next?
Look for these now-stress-testedshifts to be prominent in the “new normal,” argues influencer April Rudin, afinancial services marketing strategistand founder of the Rudin Group, whopoints out that 64% of high-net-worthindividuals are counting on their futureadvisor relationship to be digital.
Investment Advisor: Amid the
pandemic, has fintech played a larger
role for financial advisors?
April Rudin: COVID- 19 has been a driver toward adoption of digitalization.Everything has been accelerated. The pandemic has given firms the ability to bemuch more digital, to “stress-test” digitalization and deliver on some of the promisesthat perhaps were only on the roadmap butthat advisors have been forced to adopt.
What’s one stress test?
The ability to work remotely from home.Advisors were forced to do it, and theyfound that they can — even to the delightof some. That gives technology muchmore importance. I’m certainly not sayingthe pandemic is a good thing; but [amidst]the loss of life, sickness and economicdevastation, [increased digitalization] hasbeen something of a silver lining.
How has the pandemic affected next-gen
clients and their advisors?
For the millennial generation, and even
some Gen Xers, this is the first finan-
cial crisis they’ve [experienced]. The
way they deal with it and come out of
it will impact how they think about
money, financial planning, transparency,
discretionary spending, retirement and
investments. How they feel about it and
handle it can be virtually shaped by
As a result of the pandemic, what might
be different in the relationship between
next-gens and advisors?
It will be much more of a partnership.The role of advisor will be a co-pilot, ora partner, rather than the, sort of, hierarchy of advisor [authority] and client[follower] that exists now.
What have virtual meetings done for
the advisor-client relationship?
A lot of advisors have become more
accessible to their clients. So clients
have had more opportunity to get closer
to their advisors, and advisors have had
an opportunity to get closer to their
clients way beyond that once-a-year
call. Market volatility has also created
an opportunity for advisors to provide
more holistic financial planning.
Will any of this stick, or will things go
back to the way they were before?
All of it will stick; it will be the new normal.Clients and advisors will become accustomed to it. And that will be a good thing.
Has the pandemic changed the concept
We’re thinking more carefully about theway we spend money and about time as aresource or asset. Discretionary spendinghas really been cut down. So there are different allocations that one might considerin a model portfolio that have nothing todo with securities or real estate investing.
What about strategizing for the future?What should advisors be thinking about?How they build relationships. In the “oldendays,” relationships were built largely oninvestment return — that’s what madesomeone a good advisor. What we havelearned is that it’s not just about returns.
What’s the biggest emerging trend in
the advice business?
There will be an inflection point that weneed to pay attention to: Will more advisors be retiring — or will more advisorsbe staying because they won’t be able toretire? Will [older] advisors work part-time from home because it’s easier onthem? Maybe they won’t need to acquirenew clients. On the other hand, will theysay, “The heck with it. I’m done!”?
What do you predict for robo-advisors?A hybrid. There isn’t going to be a one
WOMEN IN WEALTH
By Jane Wollman Rusoff
How the Pandemic Is Reshaping the
Trends forecaster April Rudin explains what advisors can do now to
capitalize on this shift.