In my previous blog, I discussed three emerging consumer personas:  Nomads, Hunters and Quality Seekers.These new consumers – with their new behaviors and attitudes – have important implications for investment advisors as they shape their value proposition for the future.

We see three major steps for investment advisory firms to take:

  1. Re-think and re-invent the role of the advisor.  The roles of professional investment advisors may need to be reshaped so that they provide value-added services.  Automated support may help free up advisors to become more proactive, building stronger relationships and avoiding commoditization.   Investment advisory firms targeting Nomads, in particular, should be exploring the potential (and the limits) of automated support and service, determining where automation should stop and human intervention should enter into the equation.  A hybrid model – with human advisors for the less digital savvy, combined with digital advice and support for those comfortable receiving it – may prove attractive to Quality Seekers.
  2. Make better use of the data consumers are willing to share.  Investment advisory firms should be putting in place the tools and analytics that enable them to capitalize on this willingness to share data, and provide a more tailored service in return – one that is aligned with the consumer’s financial goals and broader lifestyle considerations.   Building trust about data is particularly important for firms targeting Quality Seekers, as 39 percent say confidence that their personal data will be protected is a top loyalty driver.  Firms should explain the benefits of the data they are collecting and make sure consumers understand their investment decisions are aligned with their personal objectives and life stages.
  3. Deliver the right level of personalization within the right cost structure.  Many firms are coming under pressure from their customers – especially Hunters – to deliver more for less, so firms should be looking carefully at their processes to ensure they are lean and can support a more value-oriented model without compromising quality or returns.  Activities requiring the most effort should be automated if possible.  Firms should establish which services should be low-cost and low-touch and which should be more complex and costly.

The investment advisory sector is seen as a prime candidate for disruption through automation and other innovative technologies.  As the Accenture 2017 Financial Services Global Distribution & Marketing Study demonstrates, the challenge for investment advisory firms will be to match digital and other capabilities to rapidly changing customer needs and behaviors.

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