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Advisors Expect More From Asset Managers in ‘New Normal’

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Only one in 10 financial advisors in a new survey said they had found external asset manager wholesalers more helpful to them as they contended with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Broadridge Financial Solutions reported Monday.

Twenty-two percent of respondents reported that external wholesalers were less helpful in navigating the ramifications of the pandemic. And 32% said the number of wholesalers they relied on had decreased compared with two years ago.

(Related: Why Planning-Led Advisors Are Better Positioned in a Pandemic)

Seventy percent of advisors surveyed acknowledged that their practice had entered a lasting “new normal” as a result of COVID-19. Broadridge said this challenged asset managers to adapt in order to better serve them.

Among advisors who said they had returned or planned to return to the office, 58% expect to work at least partially remote one year from now. One in five were unsure when they would return to the office.

The survey was conducted by 8 Acre Perspective Corp. in July and August among 401 financial advisors with at least $10 million in assets under management and 20% of those assets in ETFs and/or mutual funds.

Remote Work

Two-thirds of advisors reported that they had found working from home has been just as effective as working from the office.

However, the survey identified a generational gap among advisors during the transition to remote working, with millennial advisors having more success than their older counterparts.

(Related: 3 Small Ways to Make a Big Impact on Your Virtual Team)

Ninety percent of millennial advisors said they had been able to host productive virtual client meetings, compared with 89% of Gen Xers and 79% of baby boomers/seniors.

In addition, 77% of millennials found working from home to be as effective as working from the office, but only 62% of Gen Xers and 63% of boomers/seniors agreed.

In terms of drumming up new business, 77% of millennials reported that they had been able to host productive virtual meetings with prospects, compared with 69% of Gen Xers and only 58% of boomers/seniors.

“As distribution organizations face the new reality of advisors working from home for an extended period of time, they need to adapt their outreach and support strategies in order to meet advisors where they are — at home and online,” Matthew Schiffman, principal of distribution insights at Broadridge, said in a statement.

“The bar has now been raised, and the video conferencing wall is not coming down.”

Schiffman said that as advisors do more with less, asset managers’ distribution strategies must keep pace. The advisor survey pointed out how to do this.

Asked which tools they were looking for from asset managers, advisors’ top three choices were investment commentary and ideas, portfolio construction support and resources, and marketing and business-building support and resources.

Schiffman noted that asset managers could respond by providing market updates, newsletters, webinars, virtual lunches or “even creative insight on acquiring new clients.”

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