As advisors find better ways to make their messages stick over video and audio conferencing, they also must find new ways to make their clients better communicators, said Haman.

“If you’re doing client discovery, finding a client’s goals, hierarchy of goals and an idea of which goals can be traded off are fundamental to doing your job,” he said. “If you’re trying to do this virtually, you have to conduct the interview much more intentionally and in a more limited framework.”

Going virtual with more meetings may greatly reshape the financial industry in general, lessening the importance of corporate offices and centralized locations.

“Centralizing and localizing to meet new clients through events is not going to be how you get clients anymore,” said Haman. “You have to be much more sophisticated now. Furthermore, as advisors use technology more effectively to communicate with clients and prospective clients, the sophistication of the client base will increase as well and the human dynamics will decrease.”

Digital advice may be in an arms race with human advisors to effectively communicate with their client base, said Haman, arguing that it will not be long before robo-advisors are able to use artificial intelligence and hyper-realistic human-like avatars to interpret content for their clients “as realistically and comfortably as any live human interaction.” While human advisors have to spend time to learn how to work across new media, robo-advisors will be able to automatically apply best practices and create relevant narratives for their clients using natural language processing, and will be able to do so without having to wait for a compliance department’s approval.

Eventually, national and regional financial centers may decline in relevance as more people work remotely and wealth flees urban areas.

“Clients are now working with advisors without regard to geographic proximity,” said Haman. “The local footprint is less important now than it was before.”

The AB Advisor Institute was founded by Alliance Bernstein in 2004 to help improve advisor and investor outcomes through practice management, marketing and client communication strategies.

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