The times they are a’changin’ — and quickly, at that.
Though the fall conference of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors in Indianapolis was themed as “Racing to Success,” the presentations focused more on how the world is racing by the traditional financial service industry and threatens to leave NAPFA’s fee-only membership behind if they failed to embrace the change.
The major engines of change discussed this year were demographic, technological and economic.
As millennials, or Generation Y, come into their own, advisors will have to adjust their business practices to meet changing demands, said R. Alan Moore, co-founder of the XY Planning Network.
“Gen Y is the largest generation in history,” Moore said. “Gen X and Y are not a niche, they are half the population. I can’t tell you what Gen Y thinks because Gen Y is 93 million people.”
Moore emphasized that younger investors from Generation X and Y want debt and cash-flow management advice and prefer to work with advisors within 10 years of their own age, meaning that firms interested in attracting them will need to bring on younger advisors.
“The source of value creation years back when I started in this business was more about investment performance,” said Hazel Durand, senior vice president, Growing Advisor, at Fidelity Investments. “The value that is being brought to this business through planning has turned that whole process on its head. We’re seeing much more focus on life planning, goal setting and budgeting, really helping people achieve their life-long goals and along the way investing appropriately to support them.”
Financial Advisor contributor and founder of RTD Financial Advisors Roy Diliberto, a pioneer of holistic, behaviorally driven financial planning processes, agreed. He divided planning into exterior services, focused on quantitative assets, and interior services, focused on qualitative elements like clients’ personalities, behavior and needs.