Financial Advisor Market Analysis

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Part
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Psychographic Profile - Column B: Jennifer

Zoe Financial is a company that matches consumers with independent financial advisors. Zoe Financial vets the potential advisors to ensure they have the necessary credentials and permissions to serve the clients, and then matches consumers with advisors based on consumer needs, not based on commission. The process begins by assessing the consumer's needs and situation. Then the digital program matches the consumer with potential advisors. The consumer then connects with the recommended advisors and selects the one that best fits his/her needs. The consumer enters the advisory relationship with the advisor. Zoe Financial personalizes the matching system between consumer and advisor, which makes creating a comprehensive profile essential. This is an example of using provided information to provide a consumer psychographic profile, based on "Jennifer" in the attached spreadsheet.

Jennifer — Overview

  • Based on the provided psychographic profile, Jennifer is seeking a financial advisor to assist with financial stability. She is married and about to become a mother for the first time, which will change her financial needs. She is a lawyer and is aware of the importance of choosing the right advisor who is trustworthy and informed. She is seeking someone to help her feel stable financially as her family expands, and who may help her grow her wealth in the future. Advisor recommendations for Jennifer should be cognizant of Jennifer's values, concerns, spending habits, learning style, goals, and connection needs.

Values

  • Jennifer values transparency and authenticity. Her primary social media platform is Instagram. She enjoys connections with others and appreciates an authentic presence on social media. Her career as a lawyer has taught her about human intention and human nature, leading her to seek knowledge of how an advisor benefits from Jennifer's situation.
  • Trust and credibility are important to Jennifer. She tends to avoid risk, and changing this would require trust in the person guiding the risk-taking. Jennifer often follows fear-based stories in the news, which likely contributes to concerns regarding trusting others. Additionally, she understands the need to use a credible provider, to avoid the risk of a negative or fraudulent experience.
  • Jennifer values family. She is married and is having her first child. Her parents and spouse are some of her primary influences. Many of her financial goals revolve around providing for her family now and in the future.
  • Personal connections are important to Jennifer, as her close friends are strong influences for her. She chooses her social circle based on connections rather than social status.
  • Jennifer's career and overall sense of success are values for her. She wants to feel successful despite her lack of confidence. Feeling successful financially would contribute to her view of personal success in career.
  • Jennifer values independence and personal control in her life, including her career and finances. She needs to feel a sense of control in decisions made as part of financial planning.

Concerns

  • Jennifer tends to avoid risk due to fear of negative outcomes or losing security. Her tendency to watch fear-based news likely contributes to this.
  • Jennifer is prone to anxiety and over-thinking decisions, which can make her stagnant in goal achievement. She needs to feel confident and have back-up plans prior to taking any financial risks.
  • Being behind in financial planning is a concern for Jennifer. She worries that waiting until age 36 to engage in financial planning has negatively impacted her potential goal achievement.
  • Jennifer is well-educated, but her understanding of the scope of financial advisement is lacking. She does not realize having a financial advisor goes beyond simple finances, so she will need education in this area.
  • Self-doubt plagues Jennifer, and she worries about making poor decisions. She needs to see a "road map" or "matrix" to feel confident in her decisions.

Spending Habits

  • Jennifer wants to keep up with others, as her social status is important to her. This may affect her spending habits in multiple areas.
  • Putting others before herself at the expense of her own goals and needs can negatively affect her spending. She may neglect her financial saving goals in order to help others.
  • Jennifer values a comfortable lifestyle for herself and her family. She will spend extra to ensure comfort but does not over-indulge on lifestyle comforts.
  • Brand names and status symbols, such as Coach and Mercedes, are important to Jennifer. She will spend extra on items to ensure she has brands signifying success.
  • Jennifer worries about unexpected drawbacks. Therefore, she wants to be financially prepared for emergencies or sudden changes in needs for her family.

Learning Style

  • Jennifer values connections and authenticity in relationships and education, demonstrating an experiential learning style.
  • Being open and transparent is important to Jennifer, so these qualities are necessary for her tin education about her finances and setting goals.
  • Jennifer needs her advisor to be motivated and goal-oriented, thereby motivating Jennifer to map out her goals and learn ways to achieve these goals.
  • Since Jennifer values independence and admires influencers and successful females, she needs to be empowered by her advisor. This can help her develop the confidence she needs to learn and achieve her goals.

Financial Goals

  • Jennifer is the primary provider for family, and this is a source of pressure for her. Her financial goals involve financial stability for her family to ensure the family will be provided for even during adversity.
  • Concern related to life changes affect Jennifer's goals. She is motivated to seek a financial advisor now due to the need for financial stability when she is on maternity leave. This has led to a goal of being prepared for major life changes in the future as well.
  • Jennifer is seeking a road map for her finances, starting with stability and planning for future growth.

Connection Needs

Part
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Part
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Psychographic Profile - Column C: Greg Bhavit and Wife

Based on the Zoe Financial Insight Framework, we have concluded that Greg Bhavit is a highly ambitious go-getter who invests much of his time and energy into his successful career to the point where personal relations may be strained. He wishes for more balance between his work and his personal life, which itself may explain his somewhat contradictory stance toward risk. He appears to dream of one of those 'once in a lifetime opportunity' situations in which he is an early adopter and independent wealth is instant and substantial. His choices, however, indicate that he prefers well-established companies and products.

Bio

  • Greg Bhavit is competitive, ambitious, and eager to grow his wealth.
  • He is highly educated, self-reliant, and very busy.

Demographic

  • Greg Bhavit is middle-aged, married with two children, and enjoys an upper-level income and net worth.

Lifestyle

  • He is married to his career and overworked. He uses meditation and exercise to create balance.

Influence

  • Greg Bhavit is a relative risk-taker and an active social climber, who maintains valuable relationships for the sake of success.

Relationship with wealth


Definition of success

  • Greg Bhavit is an opportunity seeker who likes a challenge and wants his money to work for him.

Needs and pain points


Fears and biases


Basis for expectations

  • He actively seeks out financial tips from his circle, including wealthier, more successful peers, and prefers investment and tax strategy (risk and advantage) over financial planning (conservative).

Short-term priorities


Long-term priorities


APPROACH

  • The approach is to make him feel competent and to appeal to his ego.

Brand trust

  • Greg Bhavit believes in companies whose products have an obvious, tangible value, as well as a story with substance. He also believes in brand recognition, rapid growth, and influential leaders.

Permissions

  • Bhavit seeks a workload balance that does not diminish his ability to be in complete control.

Champions and foes

  • Highly successful and widely respected friends and partners are Greg Bhavit's champions.
  • His foes are people, family included, with incompatible values, who do not understand his ambitions and create feelings of guilt within him.

APPROACH

  • The approach involves bestowing him beliefs he can use to support his ambitions on a social level with his peers and partners.

Self-delusion

  • Compared to others, Greg Bhavit is not wealthy or smart enough.

Belief contradicting actions

  • He contradicts himself by not taking chances while fearing of losing out on opportunities as an early adopter.
  • Greg Bhavit has a fear of judgment.

Preferred brands

  • Brands preferred by Greg Bhavit and his wife include Bulletproof, Brioni, Gucci, Whole Foods, Calvin Klein, Tesla, Apple, TED, and Nike.

Stories he buys into

  • He believes the world consists of winners and losers and that a side has to be chosen.

APPROACH

  • Greg Bhavit wants a partner who lets him be the boss after realizing the probable value of a deal. He wants to be enlightened on a philosophical level, requiring the creation of a new belief.


Part
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Part
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Psychographic Profile - Column D: Simon

Psychographics are significantly different from demographics in that the study goes beyond factual and objective data as demographics do. Instead of looking at age, sex, income, and marital status, etc. psychographics analyze activities, interests, and opinions.

Openness

  • Simon prefers established and recognized brands. There is nothing to suggest he is driven to try new things.
  • He has a strong preference for conventional approaches, although he recognizes when change is required — as demonstrated by his willingness to change financial advisers when his personal situation has shifted.
  • However, nothing in this profile suggests if he has a preference for lofty and imaginative solutions rather than practical and down-to-earth choices. As such, his openness to psychographic profile is likely neutral.

Conscientiousness

  • Simon was proactive in taking steps to ensure his financial wellbeing. This is most likely in anticipation of the obligations he expects to take on in the aftermath of the divorce.
  • It is undoubted that, as the owner of a successful business among other traits, that Simon is hard-working and organized.
  • These characteristics, particularly his pro-action, and the details in his profile, suggest that he has a strong preference for punctuality over procrastination and tardiness.
  • As such, Simon exhibits a strongly conscientious psychographic.

Extroversion

  • Simon certainly has leadership characteristics. His preference for maintaining authority and commanding respect while valuing trustworthiness and loyalty among friends and advisers suggests that he is neither entirely introverted nor extroverted. When it comes to business, he relies on financial advisers and business partners, whereas he retains absolute autonomy when it comes to decisions about his free time.
  • Additionally, he is active and proactive, as opposed to being passive. He did not put off seeking the right adviser in terms of financial matters until it became a necessity.
  • However, his profile does not suggest him to be the kind of individual who is talkative or expressly affectionate — particularly towards his family. There is minimal information regarding how he handles his relationships with his children.
  • As such, Simon has a slight preference for introversion, particularly when it comes to his personal life.

Agreeableness

  • As a business owner and an established brand-loyal consumer, it is evident that Simon is not the easily trusting type. This is easily corroborated by his high value on trust and loyalty.
  • Additionally, he is logical and critical when it comes to both business and personal preferences as indicated by his clarity in seeking a new financial adviser and lack of compromise when it comes to personal preferences for leisurely activity.
  • Nothing on his profile suggests he would have a preference of ruthlessness and/or irritability in contrast to soft-heartedness and good-naturedness.
  • It follows that he is likely neutral or slightly disagreeable in terms of this psychographic aspect.

Neuroticism

  • The composure with which Simon has handled this life-changing event in his life, and the clarity of his decision-making with regard to financial matters, clearly demonstrate calmness in Simon's psychographics.
  • With a characteristic of calmness is a suggestion that Simon is even-tempered.
  • Simon is certainly comfortable rather than self-conscious, as suggested by his lack of desire to "chase wealth". This is despite his fear of losing money and not having enough of it to achieve his goals.
  • Further, his ability to objectively prioritize financial security when other individuals may have been still reeling from the emotional strain of a divorce demonstrates his decisions are less based on emotions.
  • As such, he has a demonstrably low score on the neuroticism psychographic scale.

Part
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Part
04

Insights and Trends - United States Financial Adviser Market

The trends in the United States financial adviser market include the use of new technology, the increase in workforce diversity, and the utilization of Qualified Opportunity Zone Investments.

The Use of New Technology

  • FinTech companies are changing the way financial advisers handle finances by introducing new interactive and data-driven applications to provide a great experience, increased security, and greater convenience to their customers.
  • These applications help investors to keep track of their investments in real-time and execute transactions based on the current market conditions.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and big data applications are being used to provide contextual recommendations based on some factors such as customer’s buying patterns, prior engagement, age, and demographics that help them make more informed decisions.
  • WiserAdvisor.com which was founded in 1998 to create a high-quality fit for financial advisers has discussed the trend in detail.

Increase in Workforce Diversity

  • The market needs to embrace the US nation’s changing demographics to enjoy the economic benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce.
  • Women’s labor force participation has grown over the past few years, hence, women investors are seeking help from financial advisers to manage their finances and build wealth.
  • The financial adviser market has been traditional, in which few women invested. They are gradually forced to change their processes to introduce more women-friendly processes and capture large group of women investors.
  • WiserAdvisor.com included this trend about workforce diversity as one of the top 5 financial planning trends in 2019.

Utilizing Qualified Opportunity Zone Investments

  • Opportunity Zones is a new important program in the US that offers investors a capital investment gain to reduce their tax burden with the aim of helping the economically weaker communities in need.
  • O-Zones program rules are yet to be outlined but it is expected that investors are likely to love it, hence, forcing the financial adviser market to learn more about it to accommodate the customers.
  • The main aim of this program is to incentivize developers to change the less privileged neighborhoods into thriving industrial centers that provide business and job opportunities.
  • Financial advisers should involve looking into both potential opportunities and the pitfalls based on individual family situations.
  • Michael D. Makofsky, a principal at McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman Co., LPA, discussed Qualified Opportunity Zones and what investors should know about it before starting to invest.

Research Strategy:

To identify some of the trends in the US financial adviser market, we initially searched for market reports and articles from credible sources detailing the current state of the financial adviser market and the key drivers that are also considered trends. From the lists, we selected the trends that are consistently mentioned amongst different articles. We also chose the above-mentioned trends based on their impact in the industry as discussed by industry experts.


Part
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Part
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SWOT - United States Financial Adviser Market

The US financial advisory market recovered well from the 2008 recession, and has been on a consistent growth curve for half a decade. However, the market faces pressure from regulations, national economic fluctuations, and the growing risk of cybercrimes.

Strengths

  • Players in the financial advisory market have multiple, potential streams of revenue. This contributes to resilience in the overall market.
  • By 2017, the market had completely recovered from the 2008 recession. The market has seen strong, consistent growth over the past 5 years, and this growth is forecast to continue.
  • Recent digital innovations and trends are providing strong opportunities for growing the market's consumer base, and for building stronger relationships with existing clients.

Weaknesses

  • All players in the financial advisory market are subject to significant regulation, and compliance is a major pain point, especially for larger players. Regulations levels are currently high, and are expected to increase in the future.
  • Digital and technological advances in the market pose the threat of significant disruption in the market, the impact of which would likely affect small players more heavily than their larger competitors.
  • Fintech innovations are increasing competition within the market.

Opportunities

  • Technological advances in the market provide the opportunity to serve more consumers, at faster speeds, and with greater personalization. In 2019, more than half of surveyed advisory firms reported that they were planning to integrate new technology into their business. 38% say they are doing so in order to scale their business.
  • Fintech innovations in the financial advisory market allow for the opportunity to expand the overall target market to the 'mass affluent,' which in turn allows the market's consumer base to expand and diversify. Digital advances also allow advisers to deepen their relationships with their clients.

Threats

  • The US financial advisory market — like all financial advisory markets — is strongly affected by the national economic situation. Negative performance in the national economy has a direct impact on the performance and strength of the financial advisory market. The national debt is currently high, and experts are predicting a turn into a bear market in the near future.
  • With the integration of client portals and other digital tools into the client-advisor relationship, the risk of cybercrimes becomes more likely.

Sources
Sources