When Face-to-Face Matters

10/1/2021

Covid-19 has been around for 20 months, forcing most individuals to embrace some type of virtual communication.  For older investors this may have meant more conversations being conducted via the phone, while for younger investors this likely has been an increase in video-calls and other types of online communication. Regardless of age, everyone has been forced to get used to be physically distant from one another. This distance has been easy for some individuals to embrace, while others continue to feel that certain things just shouldn’t be discussed on a video-call or through a phone conversation.

Spectrem Group recently researched what types of topics wealthy investors will only discuss when face-to-face with their advisor. Overall, investors would prefer to spend 40 percent of their time with their financial advisor at a face-to-face meeting. Investors would like to spend 44 percent of their interactions with their advisor on the phone, and spend 17 percent on video calls. While the percentage of time investors want to spend via video calls increases among younger investors, these young investors still want to spend 37 percent of their time with their advisor at face-to-face meetings. That makes the importance of what to discuss at those face-to-face meetings even more important.

When considering the various topics that investors speak to their advisor regarding, there are a few topics that investors will only talk about via a face-to-face meeting. Forty-three percent of investors will only discuss investment management with their advisor at a face-to-face meeting. Thirty-seven percent of investors will also only discuss financial planning with an advisor when they are in-person at a meeting. Another topic that more than a quarter of investors will only discuss face-to-face with their financial advisor is estate planning. Tax planning is also a topic that around a quarter of investors will only discuss in person.

There are also topics that very few investors would insist upon being discussed face-to-face. Less than five percent of investors will only discuss business succession planning and educational financing advice at in person meetings, which is not surprising given these topics do not apply to everyone, and they often are not topics that require as many conversations or reviews and investments and financial planning.

If there are topics that are critical to investors to discuss at a face-to-face meeting with their advisor, it is important for that need to be communicated. The financial industry has embraced the utilization of video calls and communicating via the phone along with many other industries, so advisors may think that it is acceptable to continue discussing all topics through these methods. Investors need to make their communication needs known.