How this generation moves when it comes to money management.

Millennial’ is the name given to the generation born between the years of 1984 and 2000. Today, various industries are experiencing the effects of heightened expectations and demands of millennials through technological advancements, wider choice and lower prices. Their love for technology and innovation has led to changes in behaviours and priorities when it comes to investing. As principal consumers, millennials are expected to make up three quarters of the worlds working population by 2025, and therefore will grow into an important target market for wealth management firms.

THE TIME IS NOW, AS SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENTS SEE TRIPLE DIGIT GROWTH NUMBERS SINCE 2012

The mindset of millennials has been largely shaped by the recession of 2008/09. Millennials had come of age over this period, either as young professionals or as students, thus steering towards a more risk averse investment strategy.

Furthermore, technological advancements continue to disrupt business models and wealth managers are no exception. Constant access to the internet and live information has led to the significant rise in the use of online wealth management services.

  • 89% of millennials feel the recession has made them more financially conservative than previous generations.
  • 67% of millennials want computer-generated recommendations as a basic component of wealth management service provision.
  • 90% of millennials believe that in today’s political environment, they would prefer to invest in ways which will positively impact the environment.

Further to this, I conducted my own market research to gain a deeper insight into the mindset of millennials and proposed recommendations for wealth managers by identifying necessary adjustments to successfully serve the new-era of investors. The market research was targeted mainly towards younger millennials (aged 18-28) and consisted of an online questionnaire of 17 multiple choice questions which I distributed through my network. After two weeks I collected 300 responses and had to cap the questionnaire.

Key Results

  • 89% of respondents describe their knowledge of financial markets and investing as very basic/moderate.
  • Property was voted most popular as a financial opportunity with 83% of respondents including it within their hypothetical portfolio of 200,000GBP.
  • 60% of respondents would also include financial assets (equities, bonds) in their portfolio, but only 22% would invest in smaller cap equities.
  • Start up and cryptocurrency investment opportunities scored 26% and 22%.
  • On a scale of 1-10, the average respondent scored 6.35 when considering the social/ecological impact of the company when investing.
  • 79% of respondents would prefer to invest for a medium-longer term time period.
  • 78% of responses have a lower-medium risk tolerance- supporting the idea of millennials being a risk averse generation when investing.
  • Regardless of the rise in popularity of online investment platforms, 91% of respondents stated that they would seek investment advice from a regulated financial advisor.

Recommendations for Wealth Managers

The consequences of the change in mindset is imperative; wealth managers must therefore assess their business models and adjust the way in which advisors interact with clients to successfully serve the millennial generation.

Recommendations include:

Determine client’s level of knowledge of financial markets and investing from the outset – the advisor may wish to prepare educational videos on the various alternative product offerings which the client may not have previously been aware of (e.g. structured products).

Advisors should be equipped with the knowledge and ideas to enable the new-era investor to maintain a strong financial performance as well as have a positive impact on society and the environment.

From the outset, advisors should appreciate the millennial risk paradox of – they are cautious with traditional investments such as bonds and equities however have a desire to invest in start-up and cryptocurrency opportunities. Emphasis must be placed on the need for diversification within a portfolio and avoid any miscommunication when determining the risk tolerance of the individual.

Integration of technology – wealth advisors must begin to investigate into technological platforms which will enable clients to have access to portfolio information 24/7.

Overall, it is clear that the mindset of millennials towards money management is different from previous generations. Less risky financial opportunities are of clear interest, however, there also seems to be growing awareness of alternative investment opportunities such as cryptocurrency. This shift in preferences, values and behaviors therefore calls for increased need for financial service providers to diversify strategies in order to stay afloat such a highly competitive market.

 

BY ALEXANDER TOM