Recent studies show that clients don’t just want a closer relationship with their advisor, they need it. A study we completed in late 2022 found that:
- 50% of Americans don’t know where to start when it comes to getting their personal finances in order
- 36% of millennials still use “manual” tools (e.g., pen/paper and excel spreadsheets) to manage their finances
- 73% of Gen X Americans worry about their financial future more now than ever before
- 88% of affluent Americans say they want a personalized digital financial experience
The data is telling us that your clients are craving your expertise and your reassurance, and they want you to deliver both via a personalized digital environment. Rest assured that it is easier now than ever before.
Clients benefit from being engaged with their finances
It seems obvious but it is not fun when clients feel disconnected from their finances. More than three in four Americans (77%) report feeling anxious about their financial situation, according to the latest Mind over Money survey by Capital One and The Decision Lab. That stress spills over into many areas of their personal lives – affecting sleep, relationships, and their ability to concentrate at work.1
Becoming actively involved with their own finances and working closely with a financial advisor they trust can help to alleviate a lot of that anxiety, helping clients to feel more confident and more secure in their future. As an advisor, you are truly helping to improve lives when you build strong, close relationships with your clients.
The drive that clients have to interact with their own finances is part of a much larger trend. By 2030, McKinsey & Company estimates that 80% of new wealth management clients will want to access advice in a Netflix-style model – that is, data-driven, personalized, continuous, and, potentially, by subscription.2 This prediction helps to give advisors a roadmap of how to drive client engagement moving forward.
Advisors benefit from data insights and personalization
This is where data comes in. From your client conversations and plan data, you likely already have what you need to provide your clients with insights and actionable recommendations. And if you dive deeper into your plan data, there may be an opportunity to identify important insights about your clients.
One place to start? Consider segmenting, targeting, and tracking your clients by where they are in their financial planning journey. Some examples might include:
- Clients approaching retirement
Segment this group to identify new account opportunities, pension strategies, or potential tax planning strategies
- Clients with a college goal
Filter for clients with a college savings goal, then proactively connect with each of them at the beginning of the year to review their plan.
- Clients approaching age 65
Identify clients approaching 65 who do not have a healthcare-related goal on file and start a conversation to see if this might be a goal worth considering
Note that there is no example of you sending a blanket email to all of your clients to ask them the same question. In each case, you are tailoring your approach to meet a specific segment’s unique needs. That’s personalization and today we’ve begun to expect it in most areas of our lives. McKinsey research identified that “companies that excel at personalization generate 40% more revenue from those activities than average players…Players who are leaders in personalization achieve outcomes by tailoring offerings and outreach to the right individual at the right moment with the right experiences.”3,4
Having the right innovative tools in place to transform quality data into actionable insights is essential in strengthening client relationships and providing better financial advice.
What client engagement looks like today
Traditionally, client engagement was often discussed in terms of interactions and responsiveness. An engaged client would be interactive in meetings, actively involved in the planning process, and quick to answer questions over phone or email. An engaged advisor would remember client milestones and make proactive suggestions about updates to their financial plan.
Today it is more than that. Now we think about the broader experience. If your client is looking for information, it should be easy for them to find it. And if you are reaching out to the client in anyway, it should be relevant to their personal situation, right now. Personalization is the key to accomplishing both.
We like to think of engagement as a two-way street where you, the advisor, is both reaching out to engage with your clients (“push” tactics) and providing easy, intuitive ways for your clients to engage with you and their finances (“pull” tactics).
“Push” tactics might include:
- Bi-annual or annual in-person meetings
- Quarterly, or more frequent casual phone calls to check-in, answer questions, and update information – focusing on what matters most to that client and listening to what they have to say
- Targeted emails to segments of your book of business, delivering valuable information on timely topics relevant to that specific group
- Exclusive, small group lunch-and-learn events on topics like estate planning, tax optimization, and/or exit strategies
“Pull” tactics might include:
- A survey sent to clients ahead of your annual meeting to ensure their goals are still aligned with their plan and to identify new needs that may have arisen
- Interactive financial planning tools that clients may access online from home to make complex financial topics fun and easy to understand
- Interactive estate planning tools that demonstrate advanced planning strategies, address client cash flow questions prior to retirement, and model dynamic net worth over time
It should be noted that these examples of client engagement don’t have to take up a huge proportion of an advisor’s time. Most pull tactics can be set up once and are then available for your clients to use at their leisure. And, as we’ve already identified, the time you put into monthly or quarterly push tactics will help you to grow your business through additional services and deeper relationships that result in referrals.
To learn more about digital tools that can help you lean into personalization and better engage with your clients, visit https://www.moneyguidepro.com/ifa/ or request a Envestnet | MoneyGuide Demo today.
1. Alexandria White, “77% of Americans are anxious about their financial situation—here’s how to take control,” CNBC.com, December 29, 2022, https://www.cnbc.com/select/how-to-take-control-of-your-finances
2. Pooneh Baghai, Alex D’Amico, Renee de la Roche-Zhu, Onur Erzan, Vlad Golyk, and Jill Zucker, “On the cusp of change: North American wealth management in 2030,” McKinsey & Company, January 22, 2020, https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/on-the-cusp-of-change-north-american-wealth-management-in-2030
3. Deloitte, “Artificial intelligence: The Next Frontier In Investment Management,” 2019; The Wealth Mosaic, “Machine Learning – a valuable asset for wealth managers,” May 18, 2022
4. Adobe Marketo, “How to Make Your Marketing Automation More Intelligent with AI,” October 2, 2018