ST. LOUIS, March 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — A recent survey of female financial advisors taken at Edward Jones’ Annual Women’s Conference shows that, rather than looking at new disruptive technology as a challenge to their practice, financial advisors are increasingly embracing technology to better serve clients and scale their businesses. Only 1 in 10 (11%) of polled financial advisors cited disruptive technologies—which include advances in artificial intelligence and robo-advisors—as the biggest challenge to the financial advisory industry in 2019. This is despite the substantiated growth in assets under management for robo-advisors which is expected to reach between $2.2 trillion to $3.7 trillion by 2020 according to many analysts.

Edward Jones. (PRNewsFoto/Edward Jones) (PRNewsfoto/Edward Jones)

On the contrary, financial advisors are using technology as a way to complement and enhance the services they offer to the clients they already serve. When asked how they see their practice changing in the next five years, over half (57%) responded that they will offer a broader range of services to fewer clients, while 60% stated that technology will enable them to have more data and tools available to personalize advice based on their clients’ life goals.

«While new and disruptive technology has put pressure on the financial services industry, it has also enabled financial advisors to better determine appropriate solutions for clients’ increasingly complex needs,» said Katherine Mauzy, Principal of Financial Advisor Talent Acquisition, Edward Jones. «Financial Advisors are able to speed up cumbersome and tedious processes while creating a clearer path for more personalized, goals-based planning.»

Financial Advisors are using a multitude of technological advances to enhance the way they interact with their clients. Over two-thirds (66%) of respondents say they now employ client relationship management (CRM) software to keep track of leads, prospects and clients. Another 60% also use web-based meeting tools to hold client meetings.

In this new digital age, online resources and even social media are increasingly becoming popular ways for financial advisors to interface with clients. 38% of respondents said they are increasingly using online resources to educate clients on investment offerings and strategies. Another 28% are utilizing social media to interact with clients, signaling their willingness to attract and retain a younger generation of investors who are increasingly more internet-savvy.

«As a firm, we are seeing on a daily basis how financial advisors are leveraging new tools to anticipate clients’ current and future needs, making client-centricity a reality,» said Ken Cella, Principal of the Client Strategies Group, Edward Jones. «This client centricity allows advisors to deeply understand the clients they serve and empowers clients to engage on their own terms, enabling both parties to make better decisions and to operate with more ease and speed.»

Ongoing training and coaching required to keep up with needs

To keep up with constant changes in technology and client needs, financial advisors benefit from constant training and coaching. Eight in ten (80%) of the women advisors polled believed that ongoing training and coaching is the most important thing their firm can provide to help financial advisors grow their practice and almost half (43%) say the biggest piece of advice for women looking to find success in the financial services industry is through mentoring and coaching. Another 42% think that support designed for women financial advisors is essential, while 45% agree that opportunities to grow through leadership skills are important.

They’re not alone.  According to the World Economic Forum, while 35% of the skills demanded for jobs across industries will change by 2020, at least 1 in 4 workers are already reporting a skills mismatch with regards to the skills demanded by their current jobs. Thus, enabling and empowering financial advisors to transform and update their skills through tailored training, coaching and leadership opportunities will better prepare them to meet the needs of more demanding clients and ever-evolving technology.

«It is important that the financial services industry as a whole continues to invest in programs and opportunities that build and support the development of female financial advisors,» added Mauzy. «At Edward Jones we take a vested interest in building the careers of our financial advisors from day one through best-in-class training, technological support, and programs like WINGS, our firmwide network for female advisors.»

Methodology

The survey of 107 top-earning financial advisors was conducted on the grounds of Edward Jones’ 2019 annual Women’s Conference, which took place at the firm’s St. Louis headquarters from February 21-22, 2019.

About Edward Jones

Edward Jones, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in St. Louis, provides financial services in the U.S. and through our affiliate in Canada. Every aspect of the firm’s business, from the investments offered to the location of its branch offices, caters to individual investors. The firm’s 17,000-plus financial advisors serve more than 7 million clients and care for more than $1 trillion in assets. Visit edwardjones.com or the recruiting website at careers.edwardjones.com. Member SIPC.

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SOURCE Edward Jones