Accenture’s 2017 Financial Services Global Distribution & Marketing Study gathered the views of more than 32,000 customers across 18 markets.  The research provided valuable insights into how customers want to interact with their providers of investment advice, and into the role of innovation in building and strengthening relationships.

The study, which focused on consumers of investment-related products and services, identified six emerging customer trends with profound implications for the sector.

These include:

  1. Data as a Currency.  Consumers are willing to share more of their personal data with their advisors, but there is a trade-off – they understand the value of their data and expect to receive benefits for sharing it.  These benefits may take the form of more tailored products or better pricing.  Globally, 67 percent of respondents said they would give access to personal data to investment firms in return for such benefits, although percentages tended to be lower in Europe with 59 percent in the Nordic countries, 59 percent in Italy, and 64 percent in France.
  2. Younger Customers Seek New Models.  Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (collectively known as GAFA) and other platforms (such as the “robo-advisors”) are providing attractive alternatives to traditional investment advice firms, especially among younger generations.  While 38 percent of consumers would consider purchasing investment advisory services from an online provider such as Google or Amazon, this rises to 46 percent among Gen Y (age 22 to 34) respondents. Again, enthusiasm among European respondents was somewhat lower (36 percent in Germany, for example, and 37 percent in the Nordic countries).
  3. Automated Support is Welcome.  Investment advisory customers are open to receiving support that is generated entirely by computers, providing it can deliver the tailored information they need.  More than three-quarters (78 percent) of investment advisory customers, for example, say they are willing to receive automated support regarding asset allocation.  The level of enthusiasm was high throughout Europe, as well. (76 percent in France, 84 percent in Italy and 79 percent in Spain, for example).

In the next blog in this series, I will look at three more emerging customer trends identified in the study and what they mean for investment advisory firms.

Download: Investment Advice – Maintaining Trust Amid Shifting Customer Demands

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