What Investors are Looking for From Their Investment Advisors & Asset Managers in 2020
COVID-19 has changed the way business is conducted now and for the foreseeable future. Expectations have shifted, both in investment performance and what clients are looking for from their financial advisors. Firms and managers that are adaptable, demonstrate leadership, and proactively provide the right information at the right time will be invaluable in an unprecedented time when clients are seeking answers.
Only 11% of Investors feel that management teams are building advantage beyond the pandemic.
When investors are uncertain, it is critical to empathize with the perspective and identify ways to allay fears while communicating the key insights needed to remain confident in light of a volatile macro environment. Proactive leadership will not only be able to adapt quicker to the market itself, they will be more likely to retain assets and mandates, possibly even increasing allocation as a result of the strong positioning and transparent communication.
With only 11% of investors agreeing that management teams are seizing the moment to build advantage beyond the pandemic1, it’s more important than ever to standout and showcase your ability to establish trust and effectively position for long term success.
Wealth and Investment Management Communication is Key
As your firm navigates this high-variable environment, it’s critical to place an outsized focus on proactive communication with your clients to help them move forward confidently. Being assertive and reaching out now will go a long way in not only retaining clients, but also in developing an enduring relationship well after the COVID-19 pandemic ends. But remember to make certain that you’re providing beneficial, value-added information to your clients, as opposed to surface-level fluff that won’t translate into actual assurances.
With digital-first services dominating commerce and communication more than ever before, now is the time to gather all your virtual resources to truly connect with your clients. The benefits of virtual applications allowing for face to face interaction should not be underestimated in a time where human interaction is needed the most. Transparency, along with straightforward discussion will go a long way with clients, helping prove that your leadership team and business model have the capability to successfully prosper even in light of uncertainty.
“Approximately two-thirds of institutional investors and nearly half of retail investors with an adviser trust their investment firm more because of the increased use of technology.”2
That said, don’t rely too heavily on automation. While many firms are adding robo-advisors to their services, 73% of clients still prefer human advice3. While we are entering an era where everyone is digitally connected, people still place a high value on human connection and personalized services.
Clients don’t want to be “sold to” right now. They want solid assurances that you have the knowledge and ability to navigate this environment. Empathetic communication builds trust, which is crucial in a crisis. Proactive correspondence allows clients to feel like they’re on the same page with their asset managers and that they’re weathering the storm together.
Asset managers need to show that they have the knowledge and ability to come out of a volatile environment successfully, while addressing the specific needs of their clients or institutions. Trust in the firm starts with trust in the person and demonstrating your hands-on capabilities during uncertain times will only strengthen your relationship.
Relevant Commentary and Investment-Related Content is King
Financial thought leadership is imperative in this pandemic, as many are looking to investment professionals to help make sense of the current climate and what the future will bring from the all-important economic perspective. With a receptive crowd, financial managers can position themselves as thought leaders in a way that demonstrates that they not only have the necessary knowledge to succeed in this environment, they have the willingness and motivation to help others weather this climate as well.
Since content delivery has shifted increasingly toward digital-first, it’s vital to switch up your marketing efforts to adapt to this change. Those who don’t fully utilize online marketing need to ramp up their efforts to demonstrate their adaptability to these times. Areas such as SEO are now an even more powerful drivers of business growth, and a position at the top of the search is extremely valuable real estate.
Make sure your content is relevant, informative and authentic to your brand to position yourself properly for quality SEO.
Strong, informed commentary or analysis can also provide assurance that you have the necessary knowledge to effectively pivot if things take a turn for the worse. While you may not know the answers to everything, you can use what you do know to reassure clients that have the knowledge and capabilities required in assisting them through difficult times, particularly when it comes to the and specifics of particular asset classes or investment styles you offer.
Renewed Focus on ESG and Sustainability
In addition to proactive communication and digital-first thought leadership, ESG considerations are now crucial aspects of the new normal for financial managers. The pandemic laid bare the structural vulnerabilities, and one of the few indirectly positive aspects of COVID-19 has been the very necessary renewed focus on sustainable and resilient governance.
We have seen that everything is connected, and sustainable, ethical and ecologically-sound practices are absolutely essential for long-term success. Firms that are truly focused on ESG, and can provide concrete evidence why, are likely to benefit from this new paradigm in perception. This stance must be authentic. Greenwashing has created extensive disillusionment in investing recently due to the shallow proclamations that say a lot while doing very little. The pandemic is a wake-up call, both environmentally and operationally. Resilience is paramount and those who can demonstrate that their portfolios are guided by strong governance, potential clients will see that as a strength, as opposed to a burden.
The future is being created as we speak, and people are looking for those who can step up and provide a confident perspective in light of uncertainty. Financial advisors and asset managers are in a unique position of influence at the moment, and taking the lead in client communication, thought leadership and firm marketing will stand out and be heard by people searching for answers.
To learn more about how MBC can improve your financial and investment marketing and branding solutions, please, give us a call and contact us today.