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Cogent Reports: Technology Changing the Game for Financial Wholesalers

New study reveals financial advisors less reliant on wholesaler meetings

Technology is changing how financial advisors do business. A new study shows that one in four advisors (25%) reports less frequent contact with external wholesalers, creating an immediate need for asset managers to reexamine how to optimize their marketing and distribution dollars. This decrease in wholesaler reliance is primarily driven by RIAs, and Bank and Independent producers. These and other findings are included in The Future of the Financial Advisor™, a new Cogent Reports™ study recently released by Market Strategies International.

As advisors take on even more responsibility, self-service resources, including digital tools that can be accessed on the fly, are becoming an increasingly important touchpoint. This shift to less frequent, and more strategic in-person interactions creates a challenge for asset managers seeking to maintain strong connections with key producers and highlights the importance of creating a more personal experience for advisors using technology.

“Advisors are starting to report having less time for wholesaler visits, which underscores the importance of communicating with advisors according to their distinct preferences,” said Meredith Lloyd Rice, vice president at Market Strategies.“Now that advisors have immediate access to the latest product and performance data online, they are expecting more specialized support from asset managers, suggesting the wholesaler role will need to evolve to meet these expectations in the future. When making a significant change like this, how firms transition their sales teams can set them apart.”

The study further details which asset managers are considered best-in-class for their digital offerings and the characteristics that set these firms apart. American Funds (13%), Vanguard (10%) and BlackRock (9%) emerge as best-in-class technology leaders based on strong brand associations for their respective online educational content, modeling and portfolio tools, and analytic capabilities.

“Remarkably when advisors are asked to name which asset manager is using technology most effectively, not one firm earns more than 13% of unaided mentions, revealing there is ample opportunity for digital brand differentiation,” said Sonia Sharigian, product director at Market Strategies and co-author of the report. “As providers refocus their strategy, they should concentrate on three key areas: insights and training, efficiency and integration, and tools and apps.”

 

About The Future of the Financial Advisor™

Cogent Reports conducted an online survey with 786 financial advisors across the RIA, National wirehouse, Independent, Regional and Bank channels in November and December of 2016. The full report released in March of 2017. In order to qualify, respondents were required to have an active book of business of at least $5 million and offer investment advice or planning services to individual investors on a fee or transactional basis. Cogent Reports set quota targets and weighted the data to be representative of the overall advisor universe using the Discovery Data Financial Services Industry database as a sample source. Market Strategies will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.

The Future of the Financial Advisor quantifies and monitors the impact of key issues facing the financial advisory marketplace. Read a recent article from Meredith Lloyd Rice on how these issues are altering how advisors do business.

Read New Forces Dramatically Impact Financial Advisors

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