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Financial Advisors Reveal Their Top Priorities for 2016

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Jan 6th 2016
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In one of the more puzzling head-scratchers of the new year, a recent SEI survey of financial advisors reveals little concern about the influence of robo-advisors or the US Labor Department's fiduciary rule on their business. Instead, marketing, technology, and client investment goals apparently are the bigger targets.

“Despite being heavily discussed topics in 2015, only 20 percent of advisors resolved to implement additional front-end robo-advisor technology, and the same percentage said they would plan to expand their understanding of the impending Department of Labor's fiduciary rule, which could significantly impact their businesses,” the survey states.

Really? Ohhhh-kaaaay.

The survey of 484 advisors indicates that their top priorities for this year include improving referral and marketing techniques, technological tools, and helping clients with goals-based investing.

“Not surprisingly, advisors are focused on growing their businesses in 2016 and are particularly committed to helping clients grow their assets,” John Anderson, managing director and head of practice management services for the SEI Advisor Network, said in a prepared statement. â€œHowever, it remains important to stay on top of ongoing market volatility and regulation, as they can potentially impact the way advisors counsel their clients and can detract focus from clients' personal goals.”

The majority (80 percent) of respondents said they want to automate their workflow to increase efficiency, which helps another goal: improving social media profiles and customer relationship management tools. Most (61 percent) advisors indicated a need to improve their LinkedIn and other social media profiles. Client-facing websites and video conferencing for client reviews also got a thumbs-up. Customer relationship management tools also will be added to improve tracking of client contact information and account information.

Practice growth is a key target this year, with 63 percent of advisors noting a need to build referrals. Tactics include email marketing, increasing contacts through social media and events, and ensuring that clients know all of the services offered. However, slightly less than half (48 percent) want to engage in more “outward-facing marketing activities.”

Survey respondents also indicated that taking a goals-based approach to clients' investment strategies is key this year.

“In 2016, advisors will be focused on ways to keep existing clients happier by implementing longer-term, client-specific goals, rather than setting goals depending on the market, which will continue to fluctuate,” Anderson said.

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