During turbulent times, the world financial market and its customers inevitably change. Uncertainties in the market, as well as social and political affairs, often leave investors scrambling for something steady and sure. Big shifts in cultural perspective open attitudes, doors, and resources for new ways to look at who investors are.
The forward-thinking investment advisor will see uncertainty not just as a headache, but as an opportunity for growth. The two big questions we will look at are as follows.
What are some of the biggest changes happening now? How can you get ready to expand your business based on these changes?
Historically Underserved Demographics
Without a doubt, the world is learning more and more about different cultures, subcultures, and interest groups. Groups who may have felt socially marginalized in the past are taking a more active role in all aspects of the economy. Historically underserved and unbanked demographics are entering the conversation about what financial health looks like. More and more groups of people are seeking access to financial literacy.
In broad strokes, more demographics of individuals wading into the market means a bigger pool of potential customers for people in the professional financial services. Put another way, advisors who quickly recognize the importance of a level playing field are well positioned to step in to serve that broader playing field.
Be prepared. There is no magic formula for working with different kinds of people. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that because people will be coming from all different types of backgrounds, they will have a wide range of knowledge about finances generally. Some of your new clients may never have had a bank account before.
If you are prepared to communicate abstract concepts in simple, understandable terms, you will help folks new to the finance game catch on and keep up. Check out your options for software for financial advisors to ensure that you have tools that are simple, visual, and intuitive.
Non-Traditional Banking Formats
Anyone even remotely keyed into the financial sector is aware of the disruption cryptocurrency, NFT’s, and other alternatives to traditional banking are causing. Some service industries, shopping venues, and even travel destinations for example are leaping into the change by accepting cryptocurrency in lieu of cash or credit cards.
Especially younger markets and those who are more tech savvy expect that their financial services companies will have a high level of comfort giving advice about non-traditional banking. Although only a limited number of U.S. banks have started dipping their toes into openly dealing in cryptocurrency transactions, every U.S. bank is currently developing policies for how to handle them.
Be prepared. Because these banking technologies are new, developing, and still somewhat suspect from a banking compliance standpoint, financial advisors are wise to have a twofold strategy for speaking to clients about non-traditional financial options. First, read up on what they are and how they work. Second, you do not have to advise your clients how to invest in non-traditional investments, but you should be prepared to explain the serious risks involved, such as fraud, bank scrutiny, and government scrutiny.
Geo-Politics and War
In the age of the 24-hour news cycle and 24-hour access to social media, there is never any shortage of world issues for people to become interested in and even passionate about. Because of this, it’s a certainty you will have customers who care where their investments are located in the world. The bigger and more dramatic the news, especially if it involves problems, unrest, or violence, the more your customers will care.
Be prepared. Expect to be asked about where investment companies are located. Keep on top of the news and current events, not just for market financials, but to keep an eye on hot topics. You don’t need to spend a ton of time learning about ethical investments, which are likely to ebb and flow in both market risk and, frankly, investor interest. However, as you follow the news, keep an eye out for trends on a high level. Socially conscious investing may drive the majority of how the market, but when people and businesses decide it matters, you should not be left scrambling.
Scams are ever-present, but constantly changing. It’s not news that con artists have broadened their approach from old-fashioned mail and phone scams to email, social media, and text scams. What is news is how savvy many of these fraudsters are.
While it is not a financial advisor’s job to prevent clients from becoming victims of fraud or ransomware, the real commodity financial advisors sell is security and trust. Clients want to feel safe with their advisor.
Be prepared. Become familiar with the latest scams making the rounds. Let your clients know what to look out for in terms of the swindles most common to your clients’ demographic. Let them know that if they ever receive a suspicious communication, they can and should contact you directly, not through the message they got. When clients see you stepping up to protect them, they know they can trust you. That’s a path to client loyalty.