New MMI-Aon Research: Digital Leadership Helped Maintain Client Satisfaction During Pandemic

Despite the challenging pandemic environment, overall investor satisfaction with their financial advisors has remained steady. Of investors surveyed during January and February of this year, 68% gave their financial advisor or team a 9 or 10 (on a 10-point scale) compared to 69% last year.  

According to the second report in this year’s Advisory Solutions: Expectations and Experiences series from MMI and Aon, advisors received strong marks in terms of client satisfaction across all the key touchpoints in the wealth management experience, including answering questions (77%), keeping clients informed (72%), and communicating about the market (71%).  

Unsurprisingly, client satisfaction was strongly linked to the firm’s digital capabilities. Client satisfaction was 84% among those who view their firm as a digital leader, falling to 70% for clients who view their firm’s digital capabilities as in line with the rest of the industry, and 38% for those who view their firm as a laggard in the digital space.    

Other key findings:

  • Although there has been a clear shift in favor of digital interaction, preferences still vary across specific activities. Clients show the strongest preference for digital channels for day-to-day tasks such as asking questions about their account (51%). Just 34% of clients indicate a preference for digital interaction to develop or refresh their financial plan. 
  • Advisors underestimate the importance of in-person interactions when it comes to planning and performance discussions. Advisor perception of client preference for in-person planning is 37% compared to clients’ actual preference at 43%. For investment performance discussions, advisors believe that 30% of clients prefer in-person while actual client preference is at 36%.    
  • Digital tools are in high demand. The most important tools to clients moving forward are performance reporting/tracking toward financial goals, tools that enable easy communication with the advisor, and financial planning tools that forecast retirement income.

“Despite the extraordinary circumstances that forced advisors to pivot to primarily virtual interactions, the industry continued to deliver high levels of service to investors,” said Craig Pfeiffer, president and CEO of MMI. Peter Keuls, global head of wealth management at Aon, added: “Moving forward, it’s tempting to assume that virtual interactions are the new normal, but clients and advisors are telling us that choice of channel is critical across the various activities involved in the financial planning and account management process.”

Detailed findings from the 2021 Expectations and Experiences research are being released in a series of four reports.

To learn more:
Download Report #2: Lessons from the Pandemic
Download Report #1:  Delivering Premium Advice
Download Executive Summary of the 2021 research findings
View special MMI Webinar featuring Craig Pfeiffer with Peter Keuls and David Lo of Aon

We hope you find this new research valuable. If you have any questions, please contact MMI at (646) 868-8500 or info@mminst.org.