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Fidelity Survey: Prospecting Takes a Hit During the Pandemic

As financial advisors adjust to remote working and navigating clients through the tough environment, some have put prospecting on the back burner.

Two-thirds of advisors have scaled back on prospecting for new clients during the first few months of COVID-19, as they’ve had to focus their attention on helping existing clients navigate the market environment, according to a recent survey by Fidelity Investments.

Fidelity surveyed 408 advisors at RIAs, broker/dealers and wirehouses between May 15 and May 20 and found that many advisors struggled with the transition to working remotely, with more than half (51%) of them reporting below average results from the prospecting they had done. Advisors who are comfortable with remote working were less likely to have reduced their prospecting than those who prefer the office environment.  

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, advisors have been stepping up to help clients navigate the complex emotional and financial impacts of the crisis while continuing to manage their own businesses,” said David Canter, head of the RIA and family office segments for Fidelity Institutional, in a statement. “Increased demand for financial planning and advice has led many firms to rapidly pivot how they engage with prospects and clients in a virtual environment. The crisis has been a catalyst for growth-oriented advisors to embrace more digitally-minded business development strategies.”

Advisors with a multi-channel approach—using email, phone and video—were more successful with prospecting during the pandemic. Seventy-four percent of those advisors had average or above average prospecting results, while three-quarters of those using email alone reported below average results according to the survey.

The survey found younger advisors—those under age 35—were more likely to use the combination of video, social media and email. And while phone was the most popular medium for connecting with prospects, half of advisors under age 35 and 40% of those aged 36-54 are using video for prospecting.

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