When In-Person Matters


The past few years has seen a growing comfort level with individuals being willing to conduct many different types of business remotely.  Buying groceries online and picking them up without entering the store, or having them delivered, became far more mainstream than it was before. Most individuals were forced to interact with family and loved ones through the phone, email, or video-chat platforms due to not being able to see one another in-person. The lack of ability to conduct business in-person over the past two years does not mean wealthy investors have lost their desire to have certain discussions, or conduct specific transactions, in-person.

It is important to note that some investors are still largely uncomfortable meeting in-person. Fifty-nine percent of Millennials prefer to not conduct transactions and meetings with their advisor in-person, while a third of WWII investors feel similarly, according to Spectrem Group research. These investors have gotten used to not meeting with their advisor in-person for many different types of financial transactions, as there has been an increase in the usage of other methods of communicating. Nearly a quarter of wealthy investors have increased their usage of email and video calls as methods of communicating with their advisor over the past few years. That percentage jumps up among Millennials and Gen X investors.

Investors believe they will continue to increase their usage of communication methods outside of in-person. Twenty-nine percent of investors feel they will increase their usage of the phone over the next year. A third of Millennials and Gen X investors anticipate they will increase their usage of email in the next year to communicate with their financial advisor. Thirty-eight percent of these younger investors also anticipate they will be increasing their communications with their advisor through email.

What type of communication platform an investor is willing to use has a great deal to do with what topics they need to discuss. For general questions, half of investors would prefer to discuss those questions over the phone, while over a third would prefer to have general questions answered via email. When thinking about tax questions 44 percent of wealthy investors would prefer to discuss them over the phone, while 27 percent would like to discuss tax questions through email. Concerns about the market are another topic that investors would prefer to use the telephone, with 46 percent preferring the phone and 23 percent preferring email.

There are also topics that investors would prefer to discuss in-person. Over half of wealthy investors would prefer to discuss financial planning in-person. Financial planning can also contain components of retirement planning, which over half of investors would also prefer to discuss this topic in-person. Performance reviews are also preferred to discuss in-person by 47 percent of wealthy investors.

Around two-thirds of investors expect that these in-person meetings would be conducted at their financial advisor’s business office. Twenty percent of investors feel that this meeting would take place virtually only. Sixteen percent of investors would like the meeting to take place at their home. Millennials are more inclined to want the meetings to be at their homes, with 28 percent of Millennials feeling that way.

Regardless of where investors would like to meet with their advisor, it is important to communicate with an advisor what topics an investor would prefer to discuss in-person versus other communication methods.