Although many advisors have managed to flourish despite the rise of robo-advisors, there is more they can and should do to appeal to more do-it-yourself (DIY) investors and younger investors.
The number of DIY investors has only grown in recent years, thanks largely to the creation of discount brokerages and online investment tools and platforms that have made it much easier for young and other new investors to make investments and create their own portfolios completely on their own or with limited help from professionals.
Although there was concern just a few years ago that robo-advisors represented a huge potential challenge for advisors, many advisors have managed to flourish and no longer see robo-advisors as much of a threat.
After all, “full-service advisors and robos are going after different niches of investors,” according to executive recruiter Mark Elzweig.
“Clients with complex financial needs who want customization in their investment programs and who can benefit from a relationship with an empathic, skilled advisor who can help them achieve their life goals are best served by full-service advisors,” Elzweig told ThinkAdvisor. In contrast, “robos are one-trick ponies with limited scope.”
Although other industry experts ThinkAdvisor interviewed agreed that most investors will continue to seek out a human touch when it comes to financial planning and advice, especially during significant times of their lives and during emergencies, most stressed the importance of traditional advisors offering clients a strong digital experience.
For one thing, younger clients expect that. In addition, robo-advisors could become a much bigger threat a few years down the road to advisors who don’t adapt to the digital world.
Many advisors have already got the message. “Full-service firms are increasingly aware that their clients are cheating on them with a self-directed play account, typically at a different firm,” according to Gavin Spitzner, president of Wealth Consulting Partners. “So they’re ramping up their digital capabilities to offer those clients a full spectrum of do-it-yourself to guided to fully delegated [options] so that they are central to that client’s entire financial life.
“A few examples include Merrill Lynch aggressively embracing this via Edge, Morgan Stanley hard at work integrating E-Trade and we recently saw Citi launch Citi Self Invest,” Spitzner added.
About one-third of investors who work closely with a traditional advisor report also holding a trading account, according to Scott Smith, director of advice relationships at Cerulli. “Likewise 50% of those who consider themselves self-directed also report having ongoing contact with a dedicated advisor,” he told ThinkAdvisor.
Check out the gallery above to see 10 key things that advisors should do to try and attract more DIY and young investors, as well to continue being competitive with robo-advisors and other rivals well into the future, according to Penny Phillips, Journey Strategic Wealth president and co-founder; Jamie Hopkins, managing partner of wealth solutions at Carson Group; and Keena Pettijohn, CEO and founder of Lifelogixs Strategic Consultancy Group.