Digital Delivery, Analytics Are Transforming Financial Advice

This Quarter in Canadian Banking

The terms “advice” and “advisor” may evoke images of a client sitting with a financial consultant in a well-appointed conference room, walking through charts and graphs over a mahogany desk. They may conjure an advisor taking complete control of a client’s financial matters, thereby freeing the client of day-to-day decision making. Or perhaps the terms suggest that advisory services are for only the top 1%. To many people, “helps me plan for the future” may sound out of reach. 

But that’s changing. In the digital age, information on financial products and perspectives to guide financial decisions are much more accessible, and increasingly sought after. This shift toward digital engagement is upending the concept of advice, especially among younger consumers, who, according to the most recent Curinos Advice research, ingest significantly more such information, and seek more advice, through digital tools than the older cohorts. 

Almost three-quarters of younger consumers engage with digital tools to manage finances, compared with only half of older consumers. And 56% of them use social media and forums for financial advice, double the number of consumers who are older. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1: Preferred ways of managing finances and seeking advice

0 %


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of younger consumers prefer using digital tools to manage finances

of older consumers prefer using digital tools to manage finances

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of younger consumers use social media and community forums for financial advice

of older consumers use social media and community forums for financial advice

Source: Curinos Analysis

Not surprisingly, when it comes to financial decisions, younger consumers are also more likely to exhibit both Do-It-Yourself and Validator tendencies. (See Figure 2.) 

Figure 2: Profiles Of Consumers Seeking Financial Advice

Source(s): Curinos Analysis; 2022 Curinos Canadian Digital Advice Survey​
Base: Next Gen (N=794); <$100k Income (N=476); $100k+ Income (N=318) Getting Started (N=101), Build the Foundation (N=269), Expand the Foundation (N=424) | Respondents further cross weighted by income and age | Q27: How do you seek financial advice? (Select all that apply) ​

When offering and delivering advice as a service, financial institutions will need to consider these age-correlated differences carefully. And to attract and empower advice-seekers at any age, financial institutions will also need to design a customer journey that is designed around these three key dimensions (See Figure 3.): 

Figure 3: Dimensions Of Financial Advice​

  • Customer needs – the extent of the customer’s perceived need for advice, from simple to complex, and degree to which they will seek it through their financial institution
  • Best-fit sources – the sources, from peers and community to financial professionals, that best align with the type of advice sought; for example, education on investing thorough an independent mobile app rather than from a for-profit product provider 
  • Preferred channels – the media (digital) or personnel (high-touch), or a combination of the two, that are best suited to deliver the desired information or solution; for example, a thoroughly developed financial plan from both one’s primary bank and investment advisor through in-person quarterly touchpoints 

Because the banking industry traditionally has not delivered financial advice, digital players, especially robo advisors, are more likely to be associated with this category, especially among the younger set. To counter, financial institutions need a strategy and the right analytics to better identify customer needs, personalize advice from the appropriate sources and deliver it through preferred channels. These elements are important to all advice-seekers, no matter what their age cohort, attitudinal profile or individual preferences. Winning in the advice space is the next frontier of value proposition, and it will be foundational to growing acquisitions and maximizing customer lifetime value. 

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