A survey commissioned by Jefferson National and conducted by Harris Poll earlier this year unveils the key issues that concern advisors regarding their practices, how to attract and retain new clients, what’s happening in the merger and acquisition arena and the perceived impact of M&As, and the future of the industry.
The inaugural edition of the Advisor Authority report also presents an outlook of the next 12 months, potential threats to the industry and new opportunities. In order to tap into the pulse of what’s happening to RIAs and fee-based advisors, the report segmented their research into three categories:
1. The high earning advisor: Those with personal yearly income from advisor business of over $500,000. Most high earning advisors are marketing innovators and forward-thinkers regarding technology and robo-advisors.
2. The advisor with high AUM: Those who individually manage a total AUM of $250 million or more. Advisors with high AUM are also more tech-savvy than the typical advisor.
3. The tech innovator: Those advisors who will integrate new technology in the next 12 months, use more than seven software applications, have a strategy to enhance integration and consolidation of tech and software and spend over $50,000 annually on technology.
We took some of the information from the report and created the infographic below, identifying the most important practice management issues for advisors in these three categories, the elements they identify as some of the most important to enhance profitibility and some of the strategies they are implementing to attract the next generation of investors (click to enlarge all images in this article).
On the next pages, you will find more information about the methodology, which advisor demographics are shifting their focus to millennials, what their practice’s technology spend will be over the next several months, how many use robo-advisors and if these automatic programs represent a threat.
See the next pages for more charts from the report.
Demographics & methodology
The Advisor Authority report surveyed 535 financial advisors who reside in the U.S. from April 13 to April 24, 2015 online. Below is the chart with the demographics.
See the next page for the practice profitability outlook.
Profitability on the rise
The report found that for the remainder of 2015 and the outlook for next year, advisors are optimistic about the future of their businesses. The vast majority of advisors, or 81 percent, believe that the profitability of their practice will increase in the next 12 months. “This indicates that not only are RIAs and fee-based advisors confident in their current business, but also that their prospecting pipeline is strong,” the survey says.
See the next page for advisors’ perceptions of M&A.
Advisors bullish on M&A activity
The report found that 65 percent of all advisors believe consolidation or M&A activity in the RIA industry will increase in the next 12 months. And 53 percent believe this will have a positive impact on their business. “This may suggest that many advisors are either looking for an exit strategy to sell their business and retire, or that advisors are looking to acquire another firm to achieve greater economies of scale,” the report says.
See the next page for an emerging market of new clients.
The emerging market of new clients
While millennials once again lag behind in prospecting strategies, with only 19 percent of all advisors targeting them for new business in the next 12 months, 43 percent of advisors are looking to generation x (ages 35 to 50) to fill their prospecting lists. Only 33 percent of all advisors are targeting boomers. The report also indicates that advisors are changing priorities as demographics are shifting.
Below is the chart with the advisor segmentation targets and the percent of advisors who have a strategy to retain heirs of current clients.
See the next page for marketing and millennial advisors.
Marketing and millennial advisors
The Advisor Authority report found that 60 percent of advisors have changed their marketing strategies to attract the next generation of investors, with 46 percent of those using social media as part of their strategy, which you can see in the chart below.
When compared to boomers, 72 percent of millennial advisors shifted their marketing strategy vs. 41 percent of boomer advisors. Also, a whopping 79 percent of millennial advisors have a strategy in place to retain clients’ heirs vs 57 percent of boomer advisors.
See the next page for advisors and technology.
Advisors and technology
The survey also asked advisors how much they are spending on technology for their practice. It found that more than half believe their technology spending will increase in the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, the report found that adoption of “robo-advice has been tepid at best and is not likely to accelerate in the near future.” Only one-third of advisors are familiar with robo-advice. There is also apprehension and uncertainty to incorporate this technology to their practices, with 42 percent saying that robo-advisors do pose a threat and 48 percent saying no, there is no threat.