Many financial advisors are only “modestly satisfied” with materials furnished by broker-dealers, asset managers and insurance carriers, according to a consultant’s report.
There’s room for improvement when it comes to the resources’ usability, comprehension, timeliness and objectivity, the report found.
Demand for unvarnished materials is also expected to increase as advisors stretch their acumen in an attempt to generate more yield out of portfolios dampened by the extended low interest rate environment, the report concluded.
The findings are published in recent research by Boston-based industry consultant Howard Schneider, president of Practical Perspectives, and include a deeper analysis of research conducted in 2014 on the content and tools used by advisors with clients.
Some advisors’ clients don’t mind more product recommendations in their materials, while others prefer more planning or educationally-oriented recommendations. The mix depends on an advisor’s client base or the goal of the practice, Schneider said.
“In any case, the point is they want no bias,” Schneider said in an interview with InsuranceNewsNet. “They want objective information, not product selling.”
Challenges remain. Advisors steer clear of materials and tools that are “too complex and overwhelming to clients or are out-of-date and not updated in a regular fashion,” the 99-page report found.
The report, titled “Advisor Use of Client Approved Materials and Tools — Insights and Opportunities 2015,” also noted that advisors gravitate toward hard-copy and printed formats along with content that is downloadable.
Content disseminated through DVDs, CDs, video and audio formats as well as digital media is less popular with advisors, though the use of social media “appears to be rising,” the report also found.
In short, advisors want materials that steer clear of jargon, remain easily distributable and up-to-date, according to the survey of more than 600 advisors selected at random across delivery channels.
Independent advisors and career advisors look for similar elements in their approved materials, Schneider said, but there is one exception. “The independent channel is more receptive to technology and software solutions because they typically don’t have that on their own.”
“Career agents get a lot of that from their home office and they are not worried about illustration tools,” he added. “Independents are looking for those resources because they don’t have infrastructure to do it themselves.”
Registered investment advisors (RIAs), who consider themselves asset managers, don’t care for insurance products since they are less likely to rely on annuities and life and are less likely to be involved with an insurance company.
With a possible interest rate hike looming as early as next month, the first in many years, advisors want help with how to position portfolios for a rate increase, Schneider said.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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