Increased digital adoption continues to drive growth for the industry amid the pandemic as asset managers with the highest levels of digital engagement with advisers are attracting more assets, according to the J.D. Power 2020 Advisor Digital Engagement Study.
With more than half (58%) of advisers citing higher levels of stress due to increased workloads and the inability to meet face-to-face with clients, asset managers who build strong digital relationships with advisers to ease that anxiety are reaping the benefits of attracting assets, according to the study based from 1,330 financial adviser respondents fielded from May through July.
The top asset management firms earning the highest scores across multiple digital experiences included: Capital Group, BlackRock, JP Morgan, MFS, Fidelity and Franklin Templeton, according to the study. These firms also have the highest levels of intent to invest among advisers.
“For asset managers in the current marketplace, forging and maintaining successful relationships with advisers is increasingly about effective digital engagement,” said Mike Foy, senior director of wealth and lending intelligence at J.D. Power.
“That trend has been occurring for some time, but it has really ramped up during the pandemic,” Foy said in a statement. “Against this backdrop, asset managers need to provide easy access to relevant content and resources across multiple digital channels, including content that can help them do their job more effectively and build their practice.”
To that end, brands need to identify digital best practices and drive increased adviser digital engagement beyond email and website to include underutilized channels like video, social and mobile in order to remain relevant and attract investors.
Majority of advisers (67%) responded that they were highly likely to invest more assets with asset managers that used digital platforms to provide advice and content to share with clients related to COVID-19.
Webinars were the medium with the highest increase in adviser engagement, with more than half (56%) of advisers saying they’ve attended a webinar from their primary asset management firm in the past six months, up from 34% in 2019. Still, email reigns king as the digital platform with highest adviser engagement (85%) followed by website visits (68%).
Digital engagement is the main driver for advisers to allocate assets to certain asset managers, but environmental, social and governance investing is also quickly gaining traction, according to the study.
In fact, 55% of advisers say they are very likely to invest more in brands they identify as committed to ESG investing, however, advisers perceive only 15% of asset managers they currently work with are genuinely committed to impact investing — showing the industry has room for improvement.
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