Investment advisers fail to reap the economic benefits of the Internet when dealing with their clients, according to a new report from Gomez.

The Waltham, Mass.-based research company said investors are clamoring for more opportunities to use the Web with their finances, but investment companies aren’t responding. Investors would like to open their accounts online and use more Web-based financial planning tools and research, according to Gomez analyst Dan Burke, who co-authored "Advisory Clients and the Internet." In July, the firm surveyed more than 3,000 investors who work with advisers from various broker-dealers and registered investment advisers.

Based on the survey, investors are ready for more information on the Web: 76.3% of advisory clients have used the Internet for at least three years; 59.6% check stock quotes online; and 53.2% use the Internet for banking services. Moreover, almost 75% of investors have visited online education/learning sites in the last six months, according to Gomez.

So why aren’t advisers taking advantage of technology? Burke said some advisers are leery that the Web could replace them. "It’s a control issue," he said. "If a Web site can replace them, then the broker has bigger issues."

Burke said investment firms should remember that online tools could be used to build client relationships. He said Web sites should be built with a customer service link for clients who have questions, for example, when using financial planning tools.

Burke said that interaction creates an opportunity for advisers to uncover new assets and define new investment goals for clients.

For more information about online tools, go to:
Hard Words For Software: Advisers use a study to dish on the problems of software that caters to high-net-worth individuals.

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