Financial advisors got some encouraging news from the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism survey. Despite the recent proliferation of robo-advisors, U.S. investors prefer personal financial advisors 2 to 1.
When asked which three professional resources are most important to them, half of the respondents ranked a strong relationship with a personal financial advisor first; 24% chose state-of-the-art online or digital investing tools; and 19% chose on-call access to a financial advisor.
“Technology is important, but the highest number of investors want a personal relationship with a financial advisor,” says Mary Mack, president of Wells Fargo Advisors. And “many clients want both,” says Mack — a personal financial advisor and access to digital investing tools.
“Investors are telling us they truly value a personal relationship with an advisor, who also uses technology in a collaborative way,” says Mack.
Seventy-one percent of survey respondents rated access to digital investing tools as very or somewhat important to them, while 70% said the same about a strong relationship with a personal advisor.
What many investors don’t want is only an automated investment advisory service that uses computer-based portfolio management. Fifty-one percent of respondents in the survey said they’re not at all interested in such a service; 33% said they were very or somewhat interested.
The survey consisted of telephone interviews with 1,005 investors selected randomly from across the country with total savings of $100,000 or more. Almost 60% had annual incomes less than $90,000; 41% had incomes above that; twenty-eight percent were retired with a median age of 68; the rest were not retired, with a median age of 45.
Overall investors were optimistic about their retirement and investment outlook, pushing the quarterly index to 70, its highest level in seven years, just before the financial crisis hit. Eighty-four percent said they were as confident today in the American dream — which includes living comfortably in retirement — as they were a year ago.