Clients Expect Video Conferencing with Adviser

Client demand is increasing for “face-to-face” financial advising through video chat services, from Skype to FaceTime.

A new study from Spectrem Group and Millionaire Corner highlights growing investor demand for access to video conferencing services from their financial adviser. The research also shows an increased interest in online client ratings and reviews, such as those on Millionaire Corner’s Best Financial Advisors service, particularly among mass affluent, millionaire and ultra-high-net-worth individuals.

Additional findings suggest client interest in professional rating profiles of advisers has also increased—about a quarter (26%) of respondents say they are interested in this type service. Though direct social media interaction with advisers is not heavily sought after, approximately 36% of respondents say they would like to have the option to text their adviser. But most continue to use a computer or laptop to manage financial activities, rather than mobile technology like smartphones or tablets.

There is ongoing debate among retirement plan service providers about the best ways to communicate with and educate participants (see “Does Participant Education Actually Help Participants?”). Some favor aggressive education through whatever communication pathways are available, while others say it’s more effective for improving retirement outcomes to focus on implementing plan design features like auto-enrollment and auto-escalation. If sponsors and advisers are using technological advancements to improve relationships and two-way communication with participants, then there can potentially be retirement readiness improvements down the line, the study suggests.

George H. Walper, Jr., president of Spectrem Group, says that the research shows increased overall demand for tech-savvy advising—though individual participants’ interest can vary based on age, income, and other factors.

“It’s not all intuitive,” Walper warns. “Older investors show increased social media activity, while younger respondents, many with equally large accounts, are leading the charge for online adviser ratings like those on Millionaire Corner.”

More information on the study is available here.