Fundamental Media Insights


Research insights

Mobile and desktop use increases among US financial advisors

Fundamental Media’s research among US advisors finds almost three-quarters of advisors still read print publications

Key points:

  • Advisors have increased their use of mobile and desktop, while their use of print has decreased
  • The professional use of social media has only slightly increased compared to 2018 with LinkedIn and Facebook showing the highest use followed by YouTube
  • Since the start of the pandemic, more than a third of US financial advisors switched to the online version of the events they usually attend with more than a quarter perceiving the switch as an improvement

US financial advisors have increased their use of mobile and desktop, while their use of print has decreased, research by Fundamental Media has found. Younger advisors were the most likely to decrease radio and TV and increase mobile. Older advisors instead increased desktop and fewer of them decreased print.

Almost three-quarters (74%) of advisors in the US read print publications. More than half of the advisors receive them at the office and over a third receive them at home. Younger advisors are the least likely to read print publications, with 38% stating not to read them at all compared to 14% of their oldest peers. While publications received at the office are mainly trade and industry publications, newspapers and business magazines are publications that are mainly received at home.

US research reading print media_original

The professional use of social media has only slightly increased compared to 2018 with LinkedIn and Facebook showing the highest use followed by YouTube. Overall, younger advisors use most of the social media platforms more.

Financial advisors use social media mainly for networking with peers, reading/watching industry news and marketing their business. LinkedIn and Facebook are serving multiple purposes while Twitter and YouTube are mostly used as a source of information to read/watch industry news and asset managers’ content.

From October 2021 to November 2021, Fundamental Media surveyed 1,091 financial investment professionals in the US to better understand their choices, with a focus on the implications of the Covid-19 crisis on asset allocation, working habits, access to media and their preferred sources of information.

Global and US equities most popular

US financial advisors are the most likely to increase their clients’ exposure to global equities and US equities in the next 12 months. On the other hand, fixed income and Asian equities are the most likely to see a decrease in exposure. US advisors are expecting to move more towards active management for their clients’ portfolios and to increase the use of ETFs and ESG. The use of ESG strategies and their expected increase is significantly lower in the US compared to Europe and mainly driven by client demand.

US research asset allocation_original

Costs and investment philosophy, followed by fund ratings, are the most important factors for advisors when choosing between funds with a similar track record. Emails from asset managers and editorial coverage were the main drivers of research on a new fund, with the latter becoming much more prominent compared to 2018. In line with the results from 2018, performance, factsheets and investment strategy remain the most searched for information on funds.

Switch to online events

Since the start of the pandemic, more than a third of US financial advisors switched to the online version of the events they usually attend with more than a quarter perceiving the switch as an improvement. Saving on commuting time and the possibility to work while participating were seen as the main improvements. On the other hand, almost half of respondents perceive the change as a hindrance, mainly due to missing the opportunity to network and interact with their peers.

US research online events_original

The majority of advisors were very or quite satisfied with asset managers’ communication. They particularly appreciate being kept proactively informed and supported in their client communication and interaction. Proactive communication seems to be crucial to advisors as it was also the second-most mentioned among those asked how asset managers could improve their communication.

Other findings from the US financial advisors research include:

  • 68% of advisors listen to podcasts, with 43% listening to them at least once a week. Most do not subscribe to podcasts and prefer podcasts from independent experts and asset managers. Podcasts from publishers were popular too.
  • The impact of the pandemic on the working location of US advisors was moderate with 60% of advisors stating there are no current or expected changes. However, 57% of those who have switched to work from home are using the saved commuting time to do additional work.
  • The frequency of client interactions has increased since the start of the pandemic, while the frequency of interactions with asset managers has decreased.

 

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