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Nearly 50% of U.S. Financial Advisors Now Use Social Media Daily to Interact with Clients

Research from Accenture shows that currently advisors don't know their clients very well, but social media can help strengthen the relationship, experts say.

Almost 50% financial advisors now interact daily with their clients through social media, according to an Accenture survey of 400 U.S. financial advisors.

According to the survey, published in Accenture’s report “Closing the Gap: How Tech-Savvy Advisors Can Regain Investor Trust,” 60 percent of clients whom advisers are interacting with via social media have assets of more than $20 million.

Seventy-four percent of advisors said they believe social media helps them increase assets under management; and half of advisors claim to have successfully used social media to convert prospects into clients.

Nearly half of advisors (49 percent) said they believe firms that fail to leverage social media will lose clients to firms that do. The report found that clients across all age segments want to interact with advisors via social media - not just Millennials, but Gen-Xers and even baby boomers.

Alex Pigliucci, global managing director of Accenture Wealth and Asset Management Services, notes that social media is becoming increasingly critical as investors are demanding online resources to help them better understand investment strategy and advice.

“Firms need to implement deliberate social media strategies and provide their advisors with the tools and guidance to make their digital interaction meaningful. This will help create tighter client relationships, increase the firm’s visibility on digital channels and, ultimately, drive business for the institution,” according to Pigliucci. Pigliucci also notes social media reveals a lot about a customer, and that information can be mined and discovered. “Understanding what’s going on in the life of an investor and making that useful to advisors is very powerful. Video conferences, rolling out online education and seminars and interacting with social media in integrated way helps advisors be more in line with their customers,” he adds.

That would seem to be a key area of improvement for advisors, given new data the report unveiled. In particular, advisors are three times more likely to describe their clients as “very knowledgeable” about investing than the investors themselves (42 percent vs. 12 percent, respectively).

One percent of advisors describe their clients as “not knowledgeable” about investing, compared to 25 percent of investors who self-identified this way.

Advisors are more than twice as likely as investors to see their clients as “aggressive” investors (28 percent vs. 13 percent, respectively).

Sixty-seven percent of advisors claim to have a “personal relationship” with their clients, whereas only 38 percent of clients view this relationship as “personal.” Our research suggests that financial advisors need to focus on better understanding their clients’ views and objectives to foster closer, more trusting relationships,” continued Pigliucci. “With the explosion of ‘self-serve’ digital investment channels and increasingly complex investment products, the importance of this will only grow. Digital and social media tools can help advisors by increasing the frequency and quality of two-way communication with clients.”

Melanie Rodier has worked as a print and broadcast journalist for over 10 years, covering business and finance, general news, and film trade news. Prior to joining Wall Street & Technology in April 2007, Melanie lived in Paris, where she worked for the International Herald ... View Full Bio

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