The days of your financial advisor calling you from his car phone with the next “hot stock” are, thankfully, dead.
Today, a successful financial advisor isn’t tasked with beating the market, instead they are expected to provide personalized and comprehensive financial planning. As such, the concept of a family hiring a financial advisor is far more prevalent than it was in the mid-1990s.
Given that progress tends to grow exponentially, I expect the wealth management industry to undergo some significant structural changes over the next 25 years. Below are my top three predictions for the industry in 2044:
Public perception: Questioning whether to have a financial planner for your family in 25 years will be akin to questioning whether to have a pediatrician for your kids today.
The business model changes that we are experiencing today will start to manifest through shifting public opinion. Through a continued focus on transparent, fee-based pricing centered on a client’s holistic financial goals, fast-talking financial advisors will evolve into trusted financial planners.
The advisor of the future won’t be perceived as an extrinsically motivated salesperson but rather as an intrinsically motivated advocate for every American family. The advisor of the future will be a right-brain-dominant individual with a high degree of empathy. The planners with the highest emotional intelligence will be in great demand and analogous to a doctor who isn’t accepting new patients.
Similar to doctors today, in 2044, financial planners will be proud to talk about their careers and the personal satisfaction derived from helping others. As a result, there will no longer be a shortage of young talent, and the bar will be significantly raised for all.
Demographics: As the typical American family becomes historically atypical, we will see an overt demand for diversity among financial planners.
While on the surface this prediction may not seem as bold as comparing the public perception of a financial planner to that of a doctor, I do believe that the magnitude of this change will be far beyond our current assumptions.
It is very natural for families to gravitate toward providers that can truly understand their dynamics. Even if the advisor has a high degree of skill and emotional intelligence, sometimes a family simply needs someone that they can relate to, especially when dealing with a topic as sensitive as their financial health. This desire, paired with the broader increase in demand for financial planning services, will lead to an eventual shortage of financial planners across an increasingly diverse set of ethnicities, religions, orientations and gender identities. During the next 25 years, this shortage will be addressed, and financial planners will embrace and market their diversity as a means of better accommodating a focused client base.
Technology: Advancements in technology won’t displace human interaction; they will strengthen it.
In 2044, we will likely have robots driving our cars, serving our drinks and checking us out of stores, but they won’t be our financial planners. Job displacement from technology will be significant, but this will be contained in left-brain-dominant roles. Given that our day-to-day mundane human interaction will be replaced with robot interaction, substantial importance will be placed on the more complex, human interactions resulting from right-brain-dominant jobs. Financial planning is, and will increasingly become, a right-brain-dominant profession.
Financial planners will increasingly adopt and rely on technology to help them provide scale to their businesses and incremental value to their clients, but the adoption of these technologies will require human interpretation of their outputs.
As digital interaction becomes the standard, technology applications focused on warehousing and analyzing behavioral data will become table stakes for determining financial suitability and relevance. Behavioral data will become the most valuable tool an advisor has in understanding their clients and aligning incentives. Further, financial planners will rely exclusively on behavioral data—driven digital marketing to foster organic growth through discovery and reverse inquiry connection.
Peter Hans is the co-founder and CEO of Harvest Exchange.