A perfect storm of technology, regulation and demographic changes is dramatically changing the value proposition traditional financial firms provide, says Michael Foy, director of wealth management practice at J.D. Power.
Investors are looking for advice but want to maintain decision-making for themselves, and the changing world of financial advice is going to make that possible, says Foy in explaining a study released Thursday by his firm.
These converging changes are going to bring into question the value that traditional advisory firms bring to the table, according to the report, titled the “J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Self-Directed Investor Study,” which surveyed more than 4,200 investors.
The number of self-directed investors not seeking outside advice fell to 61 percent from 66 percent a year ago, according to the study. The percent who want to make their own decisions but look to advisors for support rose to 39 percent from 34 percent a year ago.
The growing number of investors seeking a middle ground between the traditional full-service and self-directed models is forcing investment firms to develop a hybrid service model that seamlessly combines human interaction and technology, says J.D. Power.
“The convergence of self-directed and full-service models produces both significant opportunities and threats to established firms in this space,” says Foy. “The emergence of robo-advisors, the new Department of Labor’s fiduciary standard and demographic changes such as the rise of the millennial generation is dramatically changing the value proposition traditional firms provide.”
Seventy-two percent of millennials are interested in robo-advice when their firms offer it, compared with only 25 percent of those born before 1946. A significant percentage of all age groups also express dissatisfaction with the fees full-service firms charge.
“Self-directed firms are often focused on highly active traders who are critical [to their business] because their transactions generate significant revenue, but these firms all have a large segment of less active clients who are looking for guidance and may currently lack the wealth or desire for a full-service advisor,” Foy says.
“Technology makes it possible for self-directed firms to meet the needs of these clients and retain them as their wealth grows,” he adds.