What Digital Tools Are Essential to Clients?


In this era of digital technology, it is more surprising if a company doesn’t have a website than if they do.  Financial service firms spend a great deal of time and money determining what exactly will be displayed on their website, and what types of features and services are beneficial.  What is important to note is that not everything a firm feels is essential matches up with what clients feel is essential.  Equal to knowing what is critical to include in online offerings is knowing what services are not important at all, and services that would be beneficial but are not essential.

Spectrem Group conducted a survey recently asking what services individuals feel are essential, beneficial, and unnecessary to receive from a financial advisor.  When considering essential services, Spectrem found that 29 percent of investors feel that links to all investment accounts within that financial services firm is an essential online feature.  Sixteen percent want that account access, except to accounts from any firm, so true account aggregation.  The ability to access credit scores or budgeting tools, store legal documents, use Venmo or another payment tool is considered essential to less than 10 percent of wealthy investors.  Fourteen percent of wealthy investors feel that the ability to execute wire transfers is an essential service.  Those investors at higher levels of wealth are more likely to identify that as an essential service, with 21 percent of investors with $15MM-$25MM in net worth, not including their primary residence, indicate wire transfers are essential.


More than 10 percent but less than 15 percent of investors felt it would be beneficial to have links to investment accounts from all their financial firms, access to budgeting tools, credit scores, store legal documents and have special deals on consumer products offered.  There is very little difference in the services identified as beneficial to wealthy investors.

Financial service firms can perhaps spend less time or energy on the offerings that wealthy investors identify as unnecessary.  Having access to a payment tool such as Venmo or another service is the service that is identified by the highest percentage of wealthy investors as being unnecessary.  That could possibly be that because there are so many of these types of tools and they all have an easy online platform or app investors do not think their financial provider needs to offer that service.  Fifteen percent of wealthy investors feel that access to travel deals is unnecessary from their financial advisor.

Despite wealthy investors identifying what is an essential service from their financial professional, it is unlikely that investors would move assets if their current financial advisor does not provide those essential digital tools.  Sixty percent of wealthy investors are either unlikely or very unlikely to move their assets to another advisor if the essential tool is not offered at their current firm.  That percentage jumps up to 80 percent of investors with $15MM - $25MM in net worth that would be unlikely to move any assets if their current firm did not have some of the services the investor identified as essential.  Younger investors however are more likely to move if essential digital tools are not offered at their current firm.  Fifty-two percent of Millennials would be likely or very likely to move assets to another advisor if the tools identified as essential are not offered.

Firms should be regularly evaluating their website and service offerings to ensure they are staying current with digital tools and online offerings that their clients would be looking for.  While it may not cause clients to leave in large amounts, having those features could make a firm more attractive to start doing business with for a wealthy investor that is looking.