New data released by Hartford Funds suggests that there is significant opportunity for financial advisors to better engage their young clients. Survey results uncovered that most advisors report not proactively pursuing the ‘Millennial’ generation as potential clients, despite identifying as prospects the individuals that fall into that category. Findings also revealed that advisors expect client risk aversion to nearly double in the next 12 months, continuing an upward trend.
When asked how much they focus on attracting Millennial clients, 56 percent of advisors said "less than other age groups" or "not at all." However, 70 percent reported that they target clients in their late-twenties and early- to mid-thirties. Further, the majority (63 percent) of financial advisors who say they’re not targeting Millennials at all are also pursuing prospects in this age group.
"The term ‘Millennial’ has become a buzzword in financial services, being discussed constantly by financial firms and advisors. However, our survey suggests a disconnect when it comes to understanding who falls into this Millennial category," said Bill McManus, Director of Strategic Markets at Hartford Funds. "In an attempt to filter noise, many advisors might be missing valuable insights for attracting their younger client targets."
When asked about retirement, 71 percent of financial advisors plan to work for at least 16 more years, and 53 percent plan to work for more than 20 years. Despite the desire to continue offering financial advice beyond 2030, these advisors overwhelmingly are not focused on attracting Millennial clients. More than half of advisors who plan to work for more than 15 more years target Millennials less than any other age group or not at all. Similarly, 51 percent of advisors who plan to work for more than 20 years are also targeting Millennials less than any other age group or not at all.
“When factoring in career longevity, there is even greater concern that many advisors aren’t intentionally engaging Millennial clients. Advisors who plan to work for at least two more decades need to thoughtfully engage their younger clients in order to grow along with their needs,” McManus continued. “Millennials will reach critical planning milestones in the coming ten years and require support in navigating the market and reaching their goals.”
When discussing client risk aversion, advisors expect a significant rise in the coming 12 months. Continuing a steady upward trajectory, 57 percent of financial advisors expect clients to become more risk averse in the next 12 months, up 22 percent from 2014 (35 percent) and up 40 percent from 2013 (17 percent).
“Because advisors foresee greater risk aversion among clients in the coming months, they are in the unique position to help maintain focus on the bigger picture and minimize clients’ tendencies to make emotionally-driven investment decisions,” McManus added. “Particularly as the market and investors anticipate a rise in interest rates, it will be critical for advisors to help clients manage through potential market adjustments.” The data underscores that the majority of financial advisors (57 percent) place market volatility at the forefront of the issues that keep them up at night; interest rates follows in second (51 percent) and international turmoil and its impact on markets follows in third (46 percent). Financial advisors appear to be unanimously less concerned by clients’ anxiety about saving and investing (42 percent), while only 32 percent of financial advisors are worried about attracting the next generation of clients. Concerns about inflation come in last, with only nine percent of financial advisors noting this as an area of worry.
For its third annual Advisor Anxiety Survey, executed by Hartford Funds during June of 2015, Hartford Funds spoke with more than 100 financial advisors about their anxieties as well as attitudes and practices regarding Millennial clients, individuals born roughly between 1980 and 2000.