Industry Surveys

Advisor Characteristics Vs Digital Delivery: Which Is Most Important To The Future-Wealthy?

Eliane Chavagnon, Editor - Family Wealth Report, March 27, 2014

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The future-wealthy - those “at the front of a global charge up the wealth curve” - place less of an emphasis on digital delivery than certain advisor attributes, new findings show.

The future-wealthy - those “at the front of a global charge up the wealth curve” - tend to place less of an emphasis on digital delivery than certain advisor attributes, according to The Futurewealth Report 2014: Upgrading the Service Delivery, published by SEI, Scorpio Partnership and NPG Wealth Management.

The paper includes survey responses from 3,025 global respondents, with an average net worth of $2.9 million. It looked at the factors that matter to wealthy individuals when making a transaction with a firm and, crucially, the role digital technology plays in that experience. The report is the second in a four-part series of the Futurewealth Project.

The headline finding was that, when asked to rate the importance of various factors of a “great experience” during a transaction with a wealth manager, respondents focused largely on advisor attributes.

Specifically, the three highest-rated characteristics were the advisor’s level of experience (65), market knowledge (65) and understanding of individual needs (65) - all of which received the same rating on the “importance index,” which has a scale of 1-100.

By contrast, a wealth manager's ability to stimulate portfolio strategies online, their ability to customize online reporting and the extent to which their website is “navigable” all scored lower in importance than did an advisor’s characteristics, at 39, 38 and 37 respectively.

While the report noted that digital technologies “complement” human interaction, it emerged that those in the under-40 age bracket are in fact “re-orienting” toward digital solutions. Somewhat surprisingly, then, the youngest group gave the experience of their advisor a score of 58 out of 100, compared to 79 among the oldest respondents.

The report said that the importance of digital access “should not be underestimated,” describing the future-wealthy as “online enthusiasts.” Indeed, 92 per cent of them use online tools to support their wealth management activities, according to the survey. Meanwhile, even Generation Y are “still logging on,” with around half of this cohort checking their tax efficiency online every month. 

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