Younger prospects getting cold shoulder from advisers: Poll

Attracting Gen X, Gen Y clients not on most to-do lists; 'need to nudge'

May 20, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

By Dan Jamieson

Financial firms may be coming up short in reaching the next generation of investors.

In fact, two-thirds of executives at broker-dealer and registered investment adviser firms acknowledged they might be missing the mark, according to an informal survey of 104 of Fidelity Investments' business clients late last month.

These execs said they are still focused on serving and attracting baby boomer clients, while just 23% said they're targeting Gen X (ages 34-48) and Gen Y (18-33).

Nearly half are relying on their firms' executive teams to generate new ideas, suggesting that innovation is not always bubbling up from the ranks of younger staff members.

“The poll was a good mechanism to help them understand where they are,” said Mike Durbin, president of Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services.

“There may be a need to nudge” firms into changing their marketing or technology strategies to ensure that they're positioned to bring on emerging clients, he said.

Executives of financial firms struggle with balancing the needs of their existing base of clients, while targeting the next generation of investors, Mr. Durbin added.

Younger investors “want to be more involved, and they certainly want to use technology differently,” he said.

Fidelity's executive forum was held month and attended by more than 300 executives, most of whom are clients of Fidelity's custody and clearing units, the company said.

Mr. Durbin said about two-thirds of the attendees are owners of RIA firms.

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