Nearly Half of U.S. Financial Advisors Now Use Social Media Daily to Interact with Clients, According to Accenture Study

  Nearly Half of U.S. Financial Advisors Now Use Social Media Daily to
  Interact with Clients, According to Accenture Study

 Two-Way Communication May Strengthen Relationships, as Advisors Overestimate
              Investment Knowledge and Risk Appetite of Clients

Business Wire

NEW YORK -- March 26, 2013

Financial advisors view social media as an increasingly important tool to
engage clients, grow their business and better understand clients’ investment
goals – with 48 percent interacting daily with clients through social media,
according to an Accenture survey of 400 U.S. financial advisors. The survey
also revealed that financial advisors significantly overestimate the
investment savvy and risk appetite of investors.

According to the survey, published in Accenture’s report “Closing the Gap: How
Tech-Savvy Advisors Can Regain Investor Trust,” financial advisors see the
rapid adoption of digital technologies changing their relationships with
clients and view social media tools as increasingly critical to their
individual success. The study shows:

  *Nearly half (48 percent) of financial advisors are using social media on a
    daily basis to interact with their clients – most of whom (60 percent)
    have assets of more than $20 million.
  *Seventy-four percent of advisors 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 use of social media to interact with clients is a differentiator for
advisors today, but it will be mere table stakes in the not too distant
future,” said Alex Pigliucci, global managing director of Accenture Wealth and
Asset Management Services. “Wealth management firms that fail to adopt social
media will miss an opportunity to build relationships with clients on their
terms. This is becoming increasingly critical as investors are demanding
online resources to help them better understand investment strategy and
advice.”

Advisors Overestimate Clients’ Investment Knowledge and Risk Appetite

The study compares investment perspectives of financial advisors and
high-income, digitally savvy investors and examines the client-advisor
relationship in light of new technologies. It shows that financial advisors
are overestimating the investment knowledge and risk appetite of their
clients.

  *Advisors are three times more likely to describe their clients as “very
    knowledgeable” about investing than 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.”

“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,” concluded Pigliucci.

Accenture Wealth and Asset Management Services provides management consulting,
technology and outsourcing services to financial institutions to optimize
analytics for wealth and asset managers, improve advisor productivity, help
drive sales, reduce costs and manage risks. Its clients include eight of the
top 10 global wealth managers and seven of the top 10 global asset managers.

Methodology

Accenture conducted a broad-ranging body of research to develop insights on
how emerging digital and social channels influence relationships between
investors and financial advisors, as part of an integrated quantitative and
qualitative study, which included surveys of investors and advisors. The
survey of advisors included 400 U.S.-based financial advisors, working for at
least two years at brokerages/wirehouses/banks (250), or as independents or
representatives of regional banks or insurance firms (150). Respondents were
made up of 70 percent men and 30 percent women. The survey of investors
involved 1,005 high-income, digitally savvy U.S. investors, made up of an even
mix of men and women, who are current investors or intend to invest within
three years and use social media at least every week.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and
outsourcing company, with approximately 259,000 people serving clients in more
than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive
capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive
research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with
clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The
company generated net revenues of US$27.9 billion for the fiscal year ended
Aug. 31, 2012. Its home page is www.accenture.com.

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Contact:

Accenture
Melissa Volin, + 267-216-1815
+ 215-990-4647 (mobile)
melissa.volin@accenture.com