Directions 2021: Five trends in the advisor-client relationship for a post-pandemic world

Putnam Investments, 12/14/20


The pandemic has created unforeseen and unimaginable challenges in 2020. As we anticipate the availability of vaccines and a "return to normal," how will the advisor-client relationship shift in the upcoming years? To address this topic, we’ve curated a collection of five articles from thought leaders across the industry.

1. COVID-19’s impact on the advisor-client relationship

The wealth management industry has been resilient in the face of financial headwinds, yet it’s in the midst of a shift that will define the way that advisors run their practice even after the pandemic fades.

ThinkAdvisor.com investigates two key trends that will shape the advisory profession in the years to come, including changes to the ways that consumers discover financial advisors and shifting preferences in how they receive financial advice.

2. The future of your virtual meetings

When the pandemic broke out and in-person meetings were suddenly forced into a virtual world, most advisors approached this as a stop-gap concern — how to manage client meetings virtually until it’s time to go back to normal and meet in person.

Yet, by treating virtual client meetings as a temporary shift, we limit how much time, focus, and investment we make into improving the process. Although virtual meetings will most likely become a permanent part of our reality. Financial planning advisor and expert on client engagement Julie Littlefield discusses how this dynamic will evolve as the pandemic comes to a close, and how to establish a comeback plan for your client.

3. How COVID-19 will change aging and retirement

While the pandemic has been wreaking havoc on our mental and physical health, it has also been reshaping how Americans will face retirement and old age in the years to come.

The virus is bringing sweeping change, mainly by “accelerating developments already under way,” says physician and entrepreneur Bill Thomas. For example, “isolation of older people has long been a problem, but COVID is focusing attention on the issue and adding urgency” to address it. This article discusses how the pandemic will affect long-term trends in elder-care and retirement.

4. Younger investors want to increase reliance on advisors and automate investing

According to a recent study from Cerulli Associates, 40% of those in their 40s reported an increased interest in working with an advisor, compared with just 9% of those in their 70s.

5. According to J.D. Power, clients using apps to reach advisors are happier than other investors

Advisor interaction with clients via apps is a new trend, and usage is still low across the industry, yet a J.D. Power study shows that this interaction drives higher investor satisfaction. According to the study, overall satisfaction among full-service investors who interact with their advisors via the wealth management firm’s mobile app is 40 points higher than among those who do not.

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