Are wealth advisors falling short on personalization?

Survey of North American investors reveals how different age groups diverge on product and service expectations, ESG, and more

Are wealth advisors falling short on personalization?

While the wealth industry has made great strides over the past year in providing tech-enabled advice to clients, North American investors – particularly those from the younger generation – are still expecting more diversified offerings and personalized service.

In a new report titled The New State of Advice, Accenture drew from a survey of 1,000 advised investors – split evenly across factors like gender, wealth segment, and generation – across the U.S. and Canada. The sample population included adults from 20 to 93 years old, with personal wealth ranging from less than US$250,000 to US$10 million and above.

The survey findings indicate that despite the progress they’ve made in combining digital, virtual, and human interaction, advisors may still need to improve when it comes to delivering the appropriate advice and products just when investors need them. A slight majority (55%) of respondents – including 50% of affluent investors (those who have US$250,000 to US$1 million in personal wealth) – indicated that the advice they get is too generic; another 55% of participants believe they could do better by investing on their own.

Out of all those polled, 79% said they expect their investment advisor to also offer banking and insurance products. That number rose among Gen Xers (85%), millennials (91%), and Gen Zers (97%), compared to less than half (47%) of baby boomers.

Among younger investors, products in line with personal and lifestyle preferences were more likely to be appealing. Six in 10 investors overall (59%) said they’ve asked their advisors about ESG or socially responsible investments; that includes 80% of Gen Z, 63% of millennials, and 60% of Gen Xers, compared to just 27% of baby boomers.

The study also hinted at increased urgency for advisors to engage with younger clients. Six in 10 respondents (58%) said they expect to inherit a substantial amount of money or an estate from their parents. Of those, around one in four (26%) said they plan to find a new advisor to manage all their assets upon inheritance, including 51% of investors with personal wealth of US$ 10 million or more.

It’s not just other advisors that younger investors might be turning to. A large majority of Gen Zers (95%), millennials (83%), and Gen Xers (74%) said they’d be open to wealth products and services from bigtech firms like Google, Apple, and Facebook, in contrast to just 30% of baby boomers. Similarly, 96% of Gen Zers, 79% of millennials, and 79% of Gen Xers said they’d trust financial advice generated by an algorithm more than advice provided by a human advisor.

Advisors who want to manage more of their clients’ assets must offer diversification and customization, the survey findings suggest. When asked what offerings would convince them to entrust more assets to their current advisor, 53% of those polled cited greater and more diversified products and services, and 34% said they’d want a hyper-personalized experience.

When asked what offerings would make them entrust more assets to their current advisor, 53% said greater and more diversified products and services and one-third (34%) said a hyper-personalized experience.


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