Nearly three-quarters of high-producing financial advisors say that their product providers and wholesalers need to have good online capabilities, and that a poor online presence will help determine whether they use that provider's products, according to a new study by research firm Kasina, a New York-based provider of education and research for asset management and insurance industries.
Kasina recently gathered product providers at a panel to explain what financial advisors expect in this digital world.
Seventy-one percent of the big advisories, those with $250 million or more in assets under management, said that the quality of an asset manager's site affected their product decisions, according to Kasina's report.
Like years ago, when companies merely wondered if they should have a Web site, product providers now need to look seriously at their commitment to mobile devices and social networking sites, said the panelists in a recent discussion hosted by Kasina, "What Advisors Do Online."
Financial advisors spend five hours a day online, three of them doing things other than answering e-mail. And product providers and sales representatives need to be online to take advantage of that, the panelists said.
"Nearly 60% of advisors would rather get an answer for a client from a Web site than make a call to a wholesaler," said Steven Miyao, the CEO and co-founder of Kasina and one of the panelists.
At the same time, 64% of wholesalers feel their sales representatives are not well versed in their online capabilities, and they need to be in order to communicate with advisors, said Liesl Leach, head of digital marketing and advertising for JP Morgan.
In the future, advisors are going to want more and better responses from mobile formats such as smart phones and pads and want more information from sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
"If financial advisors are looking at what their peers are doing, they are active on social media, and the higher-producing advisors are the greater users of mobile devices," said Julia Binder, a senior research analyst at Kasina. Therefore, wholesalers have to provide information about their products in that format.