Pandemic Has Changed Advisor-Client
Communications for the Long Haul
Changes in the ways financial advisorsand clients communicate with one another as a result of the coronavirus outbreakare likely to remain in place well after thepandemic subsides, Broadridge FinancialSolutions reported recently.
Fifty-seven percent of investors in thesurvey reported that communicationswith their advisor had undergone somechange because of stay-at-home mandates, and 62% of these said they wouldentirely or partially maintain their newmethods after the pandemic ends.
These are the ways survey respondents
said they communicated with their advi-
sor during the pandemic:
• Phone calls – 58%, especially preferred
by Gen Xers and baby boomers
• Emails – 46%,
• Video chat – 36%, including 59% of
Only 9% of investors said they pre-
ferred video chat to all other methods.
Other ways advisors and clients were
communicating were text, in-person
(interestingly, more than one-third
of Gen Z subscribed to this method),
mobile app, social media and letter in
“We are seeing an accelerated adoption of digitalization and personalizationfrom investors, financial advisors andwealth firms as a result of the pandemic,” Michael Alexander, president ofwealth management at Broadridge, saidin a statement. “These behaviors arebroadening, deepening and changing theclient-advisor relationship. As a result,
investors don’t want a return to the past.They largely prefer this new normal.”
Engine, a market research firm, fieldedthe survey in June among 1,000 individuals in the U.S. and Canada who currentlyuse a financial advisor.
Customized Advisor Communications
The survey found that investors wantedpersonalized and individualized communications from their advisors.
Forty-four percent of investors said theylooked for a comprehensive view of theiraccounts, and 32% for money-saving tipstailored for them. Another 32% wantedideas for new investment vehicles thatcould work for them, and 29% sought personalized analysis of their investing habits.
More than four in five Gen Z and millennial respondents said they were comfortable having an advisor follow them onsocial media to offer a more customizedexperience. However, only three in fiveGen Xers and two in five baby boomerssaid they were comfortable being followed on social media by an advisor.
Eighty-seven percent of millennials and86% of Gen Z said they were receptiveto reading communications from theiradvisor on social media, compared with59% of Gen X and just 18% of boomers.
More than two in five investors sur-
veyed reported that they had discovered
their financial advisor through a personal
referral, yet 44% said their advisor had
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,” Alexander said.
“It doesn’t have to be more complicated than a video conference. This is anatural moment to engage, educate andcommunicate with spouses, partnersand children.”
Fidelity Updates Robo-Pricing
As zero-commission trading and stock-trading apps like Robinhood continueto grow in popularity, Fidelity recentlyupdated its Fidelity Go robo-advisory.
Pricing for Fidelity Go, the robo-advisorservice launched in 2016, will be $3per month for investors with balancesbetween $10,000 and $50,000. Thosewith balances under $10,000 will not becharged an advisory fee, while clientswith balances of $50,000 and up will becharged a 0.35% advisory fee, as all clients are currently.
In comparison, rival Schwab’s robooffering, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios,has no advisory fee. Its subscription-based digital investing program, SchwabIntelligent Portfolios Premium, costs$30 a month, and comes with unlimitedaccess to certified financial planners inaddition to robo advice.
Fidelity also offers a hybrid robo service, Fidelity Personal Planning & Advice.That service has a $25,000 minimum, a0.50% advisory fee and “provides unlimited coaching sessions with a dedicatedteam of advisors, and the ability to planfor multiple goals,” a spokesperson said.—Michael S. Fischer and Jeff Berman
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