Loyalty Has Benefits On and Off the Field

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With Super Bowl LII behind us, the professional football season of 2017–2018 is over but a tremendous amount of loyalty remains among New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles fans. One doesn’t have to spend too long watching an NFL game to witness what loyal fans will do to cheer on their team in the pouring rain, sub-zero temperatures, or near-whiteout snowfall. The feeling of support and allegiance from fans for their teams is palpable.

What drives fan loyalty? The team, an individual player, the coach, the owner or various combinations of all of the above. Influence on loyalty from a combination of factors also holds true for investors working with advisors and other investment professionals and their respective firms. In fact, the industry average loyalty to an investment firm among advised investors is substantially higher than among the overall affluent investor population, indicating that the inclusion of a financial advisor or other type of investment professional offering advice is key to client loyalty, referrals and retention. Continue reading

Is ESG Investing Relevant in the Institutional Market?

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Environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing is continuing to impact the wealth management space. As individual investors become increasingly concerned with the ethics and environmental impact of the companies they are supporting, they are passing that concern on to the institutions that manage their investments. In fact, ProxyPulse*, a report by Broadridge and PwC, found a growing momentum of ESG proposals in proxy meetings in 2017. Following the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, the report also suggests an expected increase in questions from shareholders on environmental impact and climate change in 2018.

To keep a pulse on the growth in the ESG category, Cogent tracks interest in and usage of ESG investing among all the audiences we survey: financial advisors, DC plan sponsors, affluent investors and institutional investors. Specifically in the institutional market, we added a new question to this year’s US Institutional Investor Brandscape report, fielded late in 2017 and publishing this month. We asked institutional investors in the US how likely they were to adopt ESG investing in the next 12 months. We found that, while few institutions have already incorporated ESG in their portfolios, usage is considerably higher in the non-profit sector, where the approach to investing tends to be more mission-based than is typical among pensions. Continue reading

The Internet of Things: A story of the Haves and Have Nots

The Internet of Things: A story of the Haves and Have Nots A Market Strategies study identifies diverging points of view between two emerging groups of consumers and workers in the IoT market

There’s little doubt that the Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most exciting and profitable sectors in technology today. IDC is predicting that global spend in IoT will reach a stunning $1.2 trillion by 2020—a figure that represents a compound annual growth rate of 15.6%. A recent Forbes Insights study even found that senior executives now see the IoT as the most important set of emerging technologies.

But the IoT market is also a competitive one. Companies in virtually all industries are now eager to join the IoT gold rush. Thriving in this emerging but lucrative market will require a deeper understanding of what consumers truly need, want and might adopt, whether for use in a personal or work context. Continue reading

Fighting Feature Creep and Creating the Right Credit Card Offer

Fighting Feature Creep and Creating the Right Credit Card Offer

A colleague of mine was strutting around the office the other day, excited about getting Hamilton tickets. A pretty good get, I have to admit. And then he told me that he had used the concierge service that comes with our corporate card to get access to a sold out show. Both of us were surprised to learn that our corporate card even had a concierge service—and that it seemed to work well. That got us thinking. Do most card holders even know the benefits of their credit card? And, if they do, does it matter?  So, of course, we decided to do some research.

It turns out we are not alone. More than half of credit card holders know about few if any of the features and benefits offered by their card. Which means the laundry list of features and benefits that accompany many cards is not having much impact on acquisition. Credit card issuers seem to be constantly adding new features in an attempt to lure more people to open their card. The question is, do any of these features matter, and if yes, which ones tip the balance?
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Despite an Uncertain Fate, DOL Fiduciary Rule Leaves Its Mark

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A Shift Toward Level Compensation for Commission Products Is Likely to Shape the Future Product Landscape

While the regulators in Washington, DC, continue to kick the can down the road, there’s no doubt that the DOL fiduciary rule is prompting changes in advisors’ practices. As previously reported, advisors are moving further toward fee-based compensation, and predominantly fee-based advisors and RIAs are the only advisor segments that are growing.

Recent research with variable annuity (VA) producers further supports the trend of changing compensation models. Nearly half (44%) of VA producers agree that their firm is encouraging a level compensation structure that does not vary with the particular investment recommended. This proportion climbs to more than half in the National and Bank channels (56% and 57%, respectively). As a result, advisors expect to allocate fewer new dollars to VAs going forward, with one-third of advisors looking instead to the best interest contract exemption for commission products.

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Technology, Language and Educational Capabilities: Key Levers in the DC Market

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While DC plan providers are vetted stringently on their respective abilities to provide personalized, proactive client service and customized plan design, there are other factors that are essential to demonstrate in the recordkeeping suite. When we asked DC plan sponsors, heavy DC advisors and DC consultants which factors can best distinguish a DC plan provider from another competitor or incumbent firm, technology, language and educational capabilities were cited as must-have services with strong interplay.

Technology
Serious investment into technology, making processes more efficient, effective. Designing interactions with participants to be easier, more mobile, transparent, resonating with all types of employees.” DC Advisor, RIA

Language
“If you’re not investing in technology and you’re not investing in language, you’re just milking it. You’re not going to be around in five years. … In this day and age when people can withdraw money at an ATM in fifteen different languages, the fact that someone can’t get literature for their 401(k) in Spanish, it’s appalling.” DC Consultant Continue reading

Standalone streaming services versus aggregators: Which model will win?

Standalone streaming services versus aggregators: Which model will win?In October 2017, CBS shared that its standalone streaming service, CBS All Access, has seen a record number of new subscribers in a single week. And according to the company, Trekkies are responsible for the bump: the new series “Star Trek Discovery” was a hit among fans, with exclusive access to Discovery for subscribers driving a record-breaking number of signups.

“Consumer response to the launch of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ has been tremendous,” Marc DeBevoise, president of CBS Interactive, revealed. “The buildup to the show’s premiere led us to a record-setting month, week and ultimately day of sign-ups.”

The show, which was already renewed for a second season, is the latest win for CBS All Access, which has become an unlikely success in the competitive streaming service market. Since its launch in late 2014, the subscription streaming service has expanded to a userbase of more than one million users. The company is now planning on taking CBS All Access global.

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Eight Wealth Management Predictions for 2018 (and One Wild Card)

Wealth Management Trend Predictions for 2018

FinTech, backlash, proliferation and winnowing. When our team is asked about wealth management trends and what the future may hold, the following ideas keep coming up.

I’ll take two lessons from our own communications research—be brief and be bulleted—and will skip additional preamble. Without restriction on topic or time period, and in order of increasing votes, the predictions:  Continue reading

Dear Energy Santa: Make Sure You’re Connected

Dear Energy Santa: Make Sure You’re Connected

The Internet of Things (IoT) is catapulting the energy industry into a new era of products and services, and the demands and expectations of utilities are rapidly changing. According to the IDC, energy utilities are currently the third largest investor in IoT ($66 billion) and this will alter how these companies interact with their customers. As an 80’s kid, I am reminded of a memorable song by Stereo MCs entitled Connected. The song’s chorus goes:

If you make sure you’re connected,
The writing’s on the wall,
But if your mind’s neglected,
Stumble you might fall…

More than ever, our connections with people, places and things drive and define who we are and what we do. These connections are directly impacted by the IoT explosion across our society. Back in 2008, more “things” were already connected to the internet than there were people in the world, and the momentum of this trend has multiplied over the past 10 years.
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An Alternative Solution to Market Research Panels and Online Communities

An Alternative Solution to Market Research Panels and Online CommunitiesWe live in a world where consumer data are growing rapidly. Nearly every behavior on the internet is tracked, wireless devices constantly share our location and activities, and smart appliances disseminate troves of data into the ether. And, by some accounts, global data are expected to double every two years for at least a decade.

While this is not a new phenomenon, the impact is still hard to understand. Thanks to this explosion of data, many energy utilities have access to exponentially more customer information than just a few years ago, and this information is often used ineffectively, and in some cases, not used at all. From detailed demographic and profiling data, program participation histories, and rich behavioral data, the opportunities for market research insights are immense.

It’s no wonder that many utilities are looking to leverage these data to build custom online panels and Market Research Online Communities (MROCs) to support their research needs. Both offer a means of gaining quick and valuable insights without having to negotiate some of the more challenging aspects of market research, namely, sample preparation and respondent recruitment. Continue reading