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Schwab Asks Advisors to Peer Into the Future

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Schwab Advisor Services recently asked advisors who custody their assets with the firm to think about six trends that would affect their firms over the coming decade.

Twenty-nine percent of advisors cited longer client lifespans as the main one, 27% said information privacy/data integrity and 25% pointed to changing workplace dynamics.

Artificial intelligence, climate change and medical advancements followed, cited by 14%, 2% and 1% of advisors.

“The world in which advisors and their clients live is changing rapidly and the implications of these changes will ultimately manifest in how advisors evolve their firms to serve the changing needs of their clients,” Bernard Clark, head of Schwab Advisor Services, noted in the study.

Logica Research conducted an online survey in December among 778 independent advisors.

Nearly two-thirds of advisors who responded to the poll said that increasing client longevity would have a mostly positive effect on their firms, with advice and portfolio management and asset allocation being the main areas affected.

Seven in 10 advisors said longer lifespans would also be mostly positive for clients, mainly affecting their planning goals, timing and duration of working and retirement, and spending.

Similarly, two-thirds of advisors expected the effect of changing workplace dynamics to be positive for their firms, with majorities saying operations, firm growth and talent would be affected. Nearly half also expected clients to be positively affected.

In contrast, four in 10 advisors said information privacy/data integrity would have a negative influence on their firms, and nearly all worried about the effect operations. A similar percentage of advisors said their clients would be negatively affected, particularly in the area of managing risk.

Forty-six percent of advisors said artificial intelligence’s effect on their firms would be positive, and 55% said it would be positive for their clients. Likewise, majorities of advisors were optimistic about medical advancements for their firm and for their clients.

Advisors in the polls generally expressed less concern about climate change’s effect on their firms, with one-fifth saying it would be negative; however, two-thirds said it would be negative for clients in terms of managing risk, planning goals and spending.