Older Investors Losing Trust in Financial Firms/Advisers

Older investors’ trust in financial services institutions and advisers appears to have dropped to a new low, according to research from Hearts & Wallets.

Chris Brown, a principal of Hearts & Wallets, said older Americans view financial services firms as suspect if they make promises to help plan for what can’t be known. “Unlike market performance, a number of uncertainties can’t be mitigated with asset allocation. The risk of illness and large medical bills. Adult children’s job security. The capriciousness of government  actions, especially on taxes,” Brown noted.  

In a press release, Brown suggested firms should work on solutions for unknowns and unmet needs, while building trust by outlining exactly what they can do and how much it costs.  

The research found most focus group participants responded very positively to the idea of tax strategy advice, but not all are willing to pay an additional fee for that service, although they might if it were articulated clearly.  

“It’s important that financial services firms understand the different needs of the life-stage groups of older Americans to tailor communications, customize products and fill the education gap,” Brown said.  

The Hearts & Wallets research findings were based on nine focus groups in New Jersey, Dallas and San Francisco, divided among investors having a minimum of $500,000 in investment assets, including Late Career investors (no plans of retiring in the next five years), Pre-Retiree (planning to retire in next five years) ages 53 to 65, and Retirees of any age.