Global survey of CFPs reveals expected areas of client demand, trends to affect advice over next five years
In advance of World Financial Planning Day, which will be observed for the fifth year tomorrow, the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) has released the results of a new survey exploring CFP professionals’ view on trends that may shape financial advice in the next five years.
Drawing responses from 4,250 CFPs across 23 territories, the Future of Financial Planning Practice survey found 82% of CFP professionals anticipate more demand for financial planning services over the next half-decade. That’s driven by:
- More people preparing for retirement (cited by 61% of participants);
- Wider awareness of the value of financial planning (56%):
- A need for professional advice stoked by global economic uncertainty (41%); and
- Younger generations needing financial planning services (35%)
CFP professionals saw retirement as the most pressing need, citing retirement security (69%), investment planning (64%), managing inheritance/intergenerational wealth transfers (61%), and finances related to aging and long-term care (47%) as the top items they expect clients to ask about in the future.
When asked to name one factor likely to have the greatest impact on their work with clients in the next five years, 42% of participants identified technology, with nearly 70% agreeing it would free up more time for them to do financial planning with clients. Two thirds of all responding CFP professionals (66%) said they accelerated shifts toward more virtual practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, with most expecting the virtual mode of communication to stick for at least 40% of their client meetings.
Alongside the greater appreciation for tech, many planners also embraced “softer skills,” with a third (32%) of participants saying they were more involved in managing their clients’ emotions. Asked how financial planners will offer value for clients in the future, 29% talked about collaborating to set and hit financial goals, while another 27% identified providing objective advice to support decision-making.
On the areas they need to learn more about to succeed in the future, 55% of financial planners identified behavioural finance (55%) and coaching (43%). An even greater number stuck to more traditional topics such as financial issues related to aging (68%), estate planning (62%), and investment management (57%).
Similarly, when asked what action would most significantly impact their success over the next five years, at least three fifths cited continuing education/development (65%), embracing technology (60%), and shifting to a holistic model of financial planning (59%).
Beyond that, CFPs acknowledged that they’ll have to work against barriers to clients seeking out financial planning, including a lack of awareness of its value (79%) and a lack of trust in financial advisors (46%).
“FPSB will use the information we’ve gathered through this year’s global research projects into the current and future practice of financial planning to future-proof the financial planning profession and CFP certification program,” said Noel Maye, the CEO of FPSB.