digital communication (Photo: Shutterstock)

Changes in the ways financial advisors and clients communicate with one another as a result of the coronavirus outbreak are likely to remain in place well after the pandemic subsides, Broadridge Financial Solutions reported this week.

Fifty-seven percent of investors in a recent survey reported that communications with their advisor had undergone some change because of stay-at-home mandates, and 62% of these said they would entirely or partially maintain their new methods after the pandemic ends.

These are the ways survey respondents said they communicated with their advisor during the pandemic:

  • Phone calls – 58%, especially preferred by Gen Xers and baby boomers
  • Emails – 46%,
  • Video chat – 36%, including 59% of millennials

Only 9% of investors said they preferred video chat to all other methods. Other ways advisors and clients were communicating were text, in-person (interestingly, more than one-third of Gen Z subscribed to this method), mobile app, social media and letter in the mail.

“We are seeing an accelerated adoption of digitalization and personalization from investors, financial advisors and wealth firms as a result of the pandemic,” Michael Alexander, president of wealth management at Broadridge, said in a statement.

“These behaviors are broadening, deepening and changing the client-advisor relationship. As a result, investors don’t want a return to the past. They largely prefer this new normal.”

Engine, a market research firm, fielded the survey in June among 1,000 individuals in the U.S. and Canada who currently use a financial advisor.

Customized Advisor Communications

The survey found that investors wanted personalized and individualized communications from their advisors.

Forty-four percent of investors said they looked for a comprehensive view of their accounts, and 32% for money-saving tips tailored for them. Another 32% wanted ideas for new investment vehicles that could work for them, and 29% sought personalized analysis of their investing habits.

More than four in five Gen Z and millennial respondents said they were comfortable having an advisor follow them on social media to offer a more customized experience. However, only three in five Gen Xers and two in five baby boomers said they were comfortable being followed by an advisor.

Eighty-seven percent of millennials and 86% of Gen Z said they were receptive to reading communications from their advisor on social media, compared with 59% of Gen X and just 18% of boomers.

Missing in Action

More than two in five investors surveyed reported that they had discovered their financial advisor through a personal referral, yet 44% said their advisor had not communicated with their spouse, partner, children, grandchildren or heir.

“With clients spending more time at home due to the pandemic, advisors have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop a deeper relationship with their client’s entire family,” Alexander said.

“It doesn’t have to be more complicated than a video conference. This is a natural moment to engage, educate and communicate with spouses, partners and children.”