A generation enamored with iPads and social media would like to see more financial advisors pick up the tech pace, according to a study from Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group, but advisors may be reluctant to go along.

“Some advisors don’t favor using the new technology,” said Robert Waitman, director, Cisco IBSG Financial Services Practice. “They may feel that no changes need to be made in the way they run their practices.”

With 20% of wealthy investors under age 55 planning to change their primary advisor in the next 12 months, according to the survey, tech enhancements may be the difference between acquiring or losing clients.   

The Cisco survey concluded that “Wealthy Under-55s” (those with at least $500,000 in investable assets) were keenly interested in technology-enabled solutions from financial advisors.

“Many investors want video in the mix,” Waitman said. However, as the survey report observes, “Many financial advisors are reluctant to use technologies such as video because they prefer the close relationships that face-to-face meetings engender, and because they feel in-person meetings give them more control over the client relationship.”

A tech-savvy mix might include client-advisor video meetings and webinars, Waitman said. With video meetings, advisors could be more accessible to the increasing number of clients who live far away and seldom can attend face-to-face meetings. Advisors could use video to connect with experts to cover specific topics, such as taxes and estate planning.

In the Cisco survey, 60% of wealthy investors under age 55 were somewhat or extremely interested in “meeting with multiple financial experts via HD video in a financial advisor’s office.” Among survey respondents in the 55-64 age range, 32% expressed interest in such meetings while 23% of older investors said they had some interest in this type of multi-party video gathering.

So, why is video instead of a traditional telephone conference call a more attractive option?

“Video enhances trust,” Waitman said. “In addition, many younger people are comfortable using video. Advisors who include clients’ children in some meetings may be able to build relationships and eventually retain assets that pass to the next generation, which is a major challenge.”

It’s likely that many advisors already use some form of video to communicate with friends and family. Could such equipment also be used for client meetings? “That depends,” Waitman said. “Advisors who decide to use video should choose high-quality equipment, to look and feel professional.”

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