In the first blog in this series, I discussed three emerging customer trends identified in the Accenture Financial Services 2017 Global Distribution & Marketing Consumer Study for Investment Advice.  Three additional trends have important implications for the investment advisory sector.

They are:

  1. Personalization at Each Stage of Life.  In return for sharing their data, consumers will demand more personalized advice about investment products and services.  For example, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of customers want advice and product information that is relevant to their life stage, financial needs, and medium and long-term objectives.  European customers’ attitudes were in line with global findings, although German customers (64 percent) were somewhat less interested than those in Spain (73 percent) and France (70 percent).  But customers seeking investment advice want to ask questions and get advice at an individual level, with 28 percent saying the ability to ask direct questions and obtain personalized advice is what they value most from investment advisors.
  2. A New Route to Trust.  As consumers open up to an increasingly data-driven service, personal relationships are no longer the main driver of trust.  The most commonly cited factor in building loyalty for investment advice customers is a high level of trust that advisors will act in the customers’ best interest, cited by 41 percent of respondents.  And 35 percent of respondents said that confidence their firm will protect their personal data is a key driver of loyalty.
  3. A Channel Agnostic Environment.  Across financial services, consumers are willing to receive support and information online, via mobile devices, through social media, and through traditional in-person meetings and phone calls.  Most respondents (59 percent) said they don’t mind which channel they use to communicate with their investment advisor; the important thing is making sure that the experience is easy, seamless and effective.  In Europe, customers in the Nordic countries (50 percent) and Germany (52 percent) were less channel agnostic than those in Italy (55 percent) and the UK (59 percent).

In my next blog, I will look at the three distinct consumer personas that emerged from the research findings.  The varying needs and priorities of these groups provide insight into how investment advisory firms may need to reshape their value propositions for both existing and potential customers.

Download: Investment Advice – Maintaining Trust Amid Shifting Customer Demands