Too Much of a Good Thing? Study Explores Financial Advisors’ Data Addiction

The financial services industry has changed radically in recent years. In some ways this shift has become so profound that it’s difficult to identify information flows and appetites, leading to more questions than answers.

A recent study by Greenwich Associates attempted to explore trends from more than 10,000 financial advisors.

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More specifically, this included pinpointing data appetites and usage, while also looking into information consumption as a means of investment.

The full report from the study, Financial Advisors: The Next Generation, can be read by accessing the following link.

First and foremost, a few trends became immediately clear. Many experts have hypothesized that information is now more plentiful and easy to obtain than ever before.

This has succeeded in somewhat of a paradox however, resulting in an information overload of sorts.

In particular, financial advisors are flush with content and information from managers, third-party providers, news outlets, and social media.

In short, it’s difficult to sort out exactly what individuals are after. On the other hand, a positive can be distilled from this, showing that financial advisors are hungry for reliable information they can use to inform their own decisions and those of their clients.

Dan Connell, Managing Director in Greenwich Associates Market Structure and Technology Group, explains: “Cutting through the noise requires not just great content, but also an understanding of the vast differences among financial advisors in terms of demographics, client bases, habits, worries, and other categories.”

Using this information, study managed to isolate the emergence of distinct financial advisor segments: Expanders, Performers, Cultivators, and Cruisers. These segments were explored in more detail during the report, which can be defined by the mindset of a financial advisor.

As such, these four segments serve as a useful barometer when trying to make connections with financial advisors via research and other content.

“Information from the right brand, on the right topic, in the right format, delivered at the opportune time will catch an advisor’s attention—even in a sea of blog posts and news reports,” noted Brad Tingley, Market Structure and Technology Analyst at Greenwich Associates.

Takeaways from the report

In addition to this segmentation, the report dives into a wide range of data on changes in the advisor landscape. This includes such comparisons as wirehouses versus independent advisors, etc., industry diversity and technology.

The report also explores Financial Advisors’ feedback on financial research from asset managers and other providers.

Of particular note is their preferred method of accessing financial news, views toward social media, and their detailed rankings of specific news sources in terms of breadth of coverage, accuracy and objectivity.

The survey analysis was also developed in partnership with Bloomberg Media Group.

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