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Brave New World: How Younger Advisors See Tech Changing the Business

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The generational divide is as evident as the San Andreas fault when it comes to how financial advisors see technology altering their businesses.

In a new survey of 375 wealth managers by iCapital Network, almost 77% of advisors under the age of 40 believe that technology will level the playing field in wealth management in the next five years vs. 27% for advisors over 40.

“While older, more established advisors are a bit more dubious of the value technology enhancements can bring to their practice — their younger counterparts are eager to find the solutions that will allow them to expand their services, scale their practices, and build client loyalty,” according to to the study.

Plus, older advisors don’t seem to be making the effort to incorporate technology into their businesses, with only 13% over 40 adding tech to practices — a sharp contrast with 55% of those under 40 who are adding technology.

Almost 60% of those under 40 (vs. 23% of those over 40) believe tech adds a “superior experience” to client service. In addition, close to 93% of those under 40 believe technology provides “greater access” to financial products, such as alternatives, while 63% of those over 40 agree.

The good news is that none of the advisors surveyed believe robo-advisors will replace humans in the next five years. That said, 41% of those under 40 believe technology will change the role of the advisor away from portfolio management toward client acquisition and service. That compares with only 15% of advisors over 40 who believe that change will happen.

In addition, 63% of those under 40 view technology as supportive of holistic planning — including insurance, taxes, legal, real estate and other non-investment financial activities — whereas only 18% of those over 40 have this opinion.

Also, 47% of those under 40 (vs. 4% of those over 40) believe technology will provide quality interfaces that will drive client loyalty, and 45% think tech will “meaningfully lower the cost of investment management services” vs. just  11% of those over 40.

The survey concludes that “younger managers see game-changing possibilities in the benefits technology can bring to the practice of money management, creating opportunities to focus more of their energy on delivering the personalized service their clients demand, creating a service model that can help them thrive in a changing marketplace.”

—Related on ThinkAdvisor:

How AI Will Make or Break the Indie Advisory Industry

4 Ways to Build a Successful Business Plan for 2019


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