Although businesses are gradually reopening, the past few months have led Americans to ask themselves who they can turn to in moments of great uncertainty, and if their families are truly prepared. In the post-pandemic world, financial advisors and institutions will need to find new ways to address this anxiety, and embrace a new model of digital engagement that will play a meaningful role in how people prepare for the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic will have a significant impact on how essential advice is delivered, and measured, going forward. Advisors will need to adapt as client expectations, and the wealth management industry itself, evolve. 

A New Level of Trust & Relevance Will Drive the Value of Engagement
In the more skeptical America of the post-pandemic reality, families will narrow the circle of resources they trust, but have deeper relationships with those they do. Trust will be the cornerstone of the advisor-client relationship and be based on understanding a family’s goals, challenges, and needs as they arise.

The integration of real-time aggregated data will equip advisors to better understand the needs and pain points of clients—and automatically generate recommendations that answer the question, “What should I do?” before it is even asked. Utilizing that data to instantaneously communicate the impact on their financial plans, suggest next best actions, and provide personalized, relevant educational content amplifies the client experience. Understanding a client’s goals, circumstances, and full financial picture enables advisors to provide personalized, relevant advice that enhances the trust at the center of the advisor/client relationship.

Redefining What It Means to Be Prepared
The COVID-19 pandemic upended many Americans’ fundamental standards for preparedness. All seemed fine, and then, very quickly, it wasn’t.

This situation has understandably caused many families to question their preparedness in a much more profound way. “What if I lose my job?” “What if I get sick?” “Do I have a safety net?” “Will I have enough to retire?” “What if there is another downturn?” 

By adopting financial planning as the centerpiece of their practices, advisors can help assure clients they have a path—one that embraces scenario planning and addresses the what-ifs. Good plans can help guide the conversation and next best action—whether it be to make a mid-course adjustment, stay the course, or create a contingency plan. During times of crisis and uncertainty, revisiting a financial plan can help clients feel more in control—and that they are doing something to protect their families and stay on track to achieve their long-term aspirations. 

Embracing More “Human” Digital Engagement
Lockdowns have made in-person meetings impossible, removing the distinction between in-person and digital interaction. While online account information in client portals is helpful, the capability for clients to find and obtain personally relevant answers and engage with their advisors via a digital platform, at any time and from any location, will be a “must-have” as opposed to a “nice-to-have.” 

Advisors will need to drive the optimal content experience—in the right format, for the right person, at the right time, and with the right information—using hybrid engagement. Advisors will need to build trust virtually, just as they would in person. 

Fusing Health & Wealth
The threat of COVID-19 has led many Americans to seek deeper answers to the question, “Will I be okay?” They are asking about estate planning, living wills, senior and long-term care, and other healthcare matters. Advisors will have to work with networks of experts, including attorneys, CPAs, and life insurance professionals, to provide holistic wellness that addresses clients’ health, emotions, and finances.

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