President's Blog: Millennials Want Swag



Everyone loves getting something for nothing. Free breadsticks, a complimentary oil change. You know how you feel when you hear these words:

“Does that cost extra?”

“No, it comes with the purchase.”

Such benefits have moved past the status of unexpected bonus to the expected behavior. In many business environments today, providing something special, unique and free has become the way to attract customers.

The same is true in the world of providing financial advisory services.

Financial providers and advisors are constantly looking for ways to differentiate their service offerings to bring in new customers. They all provide a variety of services investors expect from someone offering financial planning or wealth management, but now there is a call among investors for their advisors to become life managers, providing services that go beyond the investment circle to the role as a financial facilitator. Some investors want their advisor to be their de facto travel agent or real estate agent, becoming a one-stop shop for all of the key financial purchases in their lives.

But some investors are looking for items that can only be described as “gifts”.

In the Spectrem study on younger investors, Millennial and Generation X Investors: Attracting the Next Generations of Wealth, investors were asked if they expected gifts or favors from advisors for agreeing to become a client. Twenty-nine percent of the Millennials said "Yes", as did 7 percent of the Gen X investors.

Millennials want swag.

And what exactly are they talking about in terms of gifts?

Being taken to dinner is practically a given; A majority of investors expect that treat. But 56 percent of Gen X investors and 41 percent of Millennials who expect gifts from their advisors believe sporting event tickets would be an appropriate and appreciated gift.

For those investors who do not enjoy sporting events, there could be tickets to a cultural event or an art opening; 44 percent of Gen Xers and 24 percent of Millennials agreed such an invitation would be appreciated.

Alcohol is also seen as a kind gesture by 56 percent of Gen X investors and 24 percent of Millennials.

Beyond the swag and tchotchkes investors would love to get from their advisors, there is also an interest in those services they pay other professionals to provide when they make important purchases, such as buying a home or taking a vacation. Many investors would be just fine with the concept of having their financial advisor providing those services as well.

The best example is travel for pleasure; Millennials are famous for their desire to see the world. Asked to place on a 100-point scale their interest in having their financial advisor service as a travel agent, Millennials placed that interest at 31.54, well above the interest levels of older investors (Baby Boomers, who are now traveling to make up for all the years they worked, rated their interest at just 20.46).

Millennials were also willing to let their financial advisor help them with the most significant financial decision of their lives, buying a home. Again using the 100-point scale, Millennials rated their interest in having their financial advisor provide assistance in negotiating a home price or finding a suitable mortgage at 35.77, well above the interest levels of the older investors, who probably have already gone through that exercise without the help of their financial advisor.

Concierge services provided by financial advisors is not a new concept, but in the past, such services were considered "extras" which required a higher level of association and in most cases additional fees. Today, many advisors are providing extra services as a way to attract new clients who are looking for a one-stop financial shop to help them not only make money, but spend money, wisely and efficiently.

Some providers see such offerings as an unnecessary extension of their time and expertise, but that thought process does not match with the expectations of the customer base that exists today.

Millennials want swag.


©2019 Spectrem Group