ComPeer suggests that demand for financial advice has slipped sharply in the past four years.
In the research among 2000 adults, respondents were asked who they regarded as their main financial services advisor. An identical question was asked in June 2003 and big changes between the two surveys are found:
- Far fewer people have a financial advisor currently – 47% currently compared to 69% in 2003. The drift is evident across all age groups and socio-demographic categories.
- In 2003, 28% of respondents regarded their main bank (identified as their main financial services provider) as their main financial advisor. Today only four per cent feel the same way.
But if consumers aren’t turning to their bank for financial advice, where are they going? Online price comparison Websites are one obvious source of information. The other is friends and family. This change in consumer attitudes helps explain the success
of a new generation of non-bank social platforms such as those operated by Zopa and Prosper, and Finance 2.0 upstarts like Wesabe and Mint.
As Gartner points out: "Consumers are generally spending more time in social networks which increasingly form part of consumer purchase processes for new products and services,”
If banks are to reassert their roles as trusted financial advisors they will have to adapt to this change in customer behaviour. This means rethinking everything, from their brand positioning, to go-to-market strategies and sales processes. The self-directed,
market-savvy 21st century consumer will demand nothing less.