While much of mass consumer financial services has become digitized and “appified” over the last decade, financial advisors have still largely had an office-based, in-person relationship with their clients.
But as COVID-19-related lockdowns spurred even the most tech-wary people into digital adoption, the financial advisory sector has also had to adapt to remote meetings with clients, and offering more specialized and affordable digital services in order to compete with fintech offerings.
According to an article in Barron’s, while smaller, independent firms have already been trodding down this path, “the larger firms that were traditionally more bound to an office environment are being forced to adopt new technologies to make the shift. That not only allows them to have a more flexible and remote workforce, but also opens up opportunities to serve a wider range of clients…”
For advisors, while the in-person meeting may still be necessary to secure a client relationship, more frequent, shorter remote meetings will become the norm instead of regular visits to the office.
Further, the article notes, advisors will increasingly focus on specialized services — such as serving female clients, for example — and offering more affordable services to attract a wider client base than typical.
“Traditionally, people who seek financial advice tend to be wealthier and mostly white,” The Barron’s piece notes. “Robo-advisors can fill some of the gap for those who can’t afford personal advice. But the industry will also need to diversify its fee structure to engage the wider American public with diverse demographic backgrounds and income levels.”