Clients’ needs are continuing to evolve amid the pandemic, opening new opportunities for advisors to lean in — if they’re evolving too, according to industry executives.
Retail investors had more time during the pandemic to pay attention to the markets and now have questions about what has gone on with GameStop or with cryptocurrency, Angie Newman, a private wealth advisor and portfolio manager at UBS, said this week at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s Private Client Virtual Conference.
It’s now up to advisors to help “educate people on the disciplines of investing,” she said.
“It’s our charge as advisors to educate,” Newman said. “I can remember so many times in my career where nobody wanted to talk about the stock market, and now everybody does.”
Clients now also want advisors to provide “multiple suites of offerings,” said Kapil Mathur, an advisor and branch manager in Sugar Land, Texas at Morgan Stanley.
“Not just planning, not just banking, not just portfolio management, not just estate planning,” Mathur said, adding that the “emergence and proliferation of super teams is just beginning.”
Brad McRae, regional leader and general partner at Edward Jones, expects clients to ask for more stewardship from their advisors.
“During the pandemic, millions of Americans had more time to have introspection around what they want out of life, retirement and so forth,” McRae said. “Advisors will need to be more focused on tying the values and client’s purpose back to their financial goals.”
McRae also expects more clients to demand financial literacy support, citing a study that suggests 95% of retirees believe it’s important to keep growing and learning.
Nolan Stokes, a wealth management advisor at Northwestern Mutual, stressed the importance of building a relationship with clients, especially those that they connected with during the pandemic.
“When we do things like listen deeply to clients, hear them — listen to hear, not listen to tell,” Stokes said. “They know they can trust us, and that trust allows us to be the signal in all this noise.”
Aleeza Singh, a senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, said advisors must recognize how demographics are changing and the role they can play in creating legacy wealth for families.
“We talk a lot at Merrill about how wealth is browning and how we have more people of color that, thankfully and about time, are now in positions to inherit and create legacy wealth,” Singh said. “I think when we look at the importance of the next generation of planning across the spectrum, we really need to make sure we’re helping younger clients and those second- and third-generation clients.”
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