We live in an age where there is no such thing as too much information, especially when it comes to money matters. Investors want access to information: their own account information, research information, trend information. And they want that information to be found on the website of their primary advisor or provider, so there is one place they can go to find out everything they are looking for.
But investors also want their personal information to be kept out of the hands of hackers and identity thieves. Security of personal information is a priority for many investors who conduct business electronically. Fear of security issues, in fact, play a role in how investors use social media and how they want to be able to access their personal information.
This conundrum presents a problem for advisors and providers who want to be as accessible as they can be in as safe an environment as possible.
Can investors have it both ways?
Security is an issue that comes up in Spectrem’s latest study on social media usage and the increased use of mobile technology. While some investors embrace social media and all that electronic technology offers in terms of information gathering, some investors shy away out of fear their personal information will somehow be used by nefarious sorts.
Advisors are going to do everything they can to keep the personal information of clients safe, just as they safeguard the assets investors provide to the advisor for investing purposes. But anyone who says they have all the safeguards they need on electronic information are just talking: in today’s age of hacking and computer viruses, there seems to be no completely safe haven of information.
When advisors discuss financial matters with investors, they need to present a clear picture of the advisor firm’s security systems. This is a topic in which there cannot be too much information provided; investors will want to hear everything a firm has in place to protect vital investor information.
The demand for information via websites and social media grows consistently. Investors want to be able to access their account information and keep an eye on their portfolio whether they are doing so from a personal computer, a tablet or a smartphone.
Spectrem’s study Using Social Media and Mobile Technology in Financial Decisions lists the programs or tools investors want advisors to provide on their websites or apps, including budgeting tools, financial planning tools, and the most popular choice, a tool to consolidate accounts from multiple providers into one place.
Advisors and providers try to accommodate those wishes by placing information on their website, or in mobile apps for smartphone and tablet users. But 59 percent of Ultra High Net Worth investors with a net worth between $5 million and $25 million worry about the security of their financial information if that information can be accessed via social media. Sixty-three percent worry about their information if it is available on an app, which is unfortunate, because many investors today want to go to apps to get their personal account information quickly while they are on their smartphone.
How do advisors and providers satisfy both the need for information and the need for security?
Top Takeaways for Advisors
Investors are not likely to forego the practice of looking up their account information if safety is a concern. Instead they are likely to find a firm to work with that has top-of-the-line, completely up-to-date security processes in place.
Just as social media requires constant attention due to the ever-changing landscape, so too does security require constant monitoring. Advisors do not want security issues to get in the way of landing or retaining clients, who themselves balance security concerns with the desire for information via electronic means.
Security is everything in financial matters. Advisors and financial providers must do everything they can to keep financial records and information secure in an environment where conditions change regularly. That being said, investors want to be able to access their personal information. Financial providers and advisors must be able to present both sides of the coin, and let clients know that both needs can be met.
©2017 Spectrem Group