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Despite Digital Advances and an Increase in Client Communications, Advisors Still Prefer In-Person Meetings: Hartford Funds Survey
[July 25, 2018]

Despite Digital Advances and an Increase in Client Communications, Advisors Still Prefer In-Person Meetings: Hartford Funds Survey


Advisors strongly prefer face-to-face meetings with their clients, despite more frequent - and still increasing - client communication, according to new data from Hartford Funds. As digital communication methods grow in popularity, forward-thinking advisors will need to adjust their approach in kind to maintain fruitful relationships with their clients.

Face-to-Face Meetings Remain Top Choice for Advisors

Nearly three-quarters of advisors (73 percent) cited face-to-face meetings as their favored method of communication with clients and prospects. By comparison, only 12 percent of advisors found video options like Skype and FaceTime (News - Alert) most useful for these conversations.

Further, when asked which digital platforms advisors use most often for client and prospect communication, LinkedIn (News - Alert) was a clear winner. In fact, 74 percent of respondents ranked it in their top three most-used platforms. Twitter and Skype were nearly tied as the next most-used choices with 45 and 43 percent of advisors using them, respectively.

Communication is Skyrocketing

Although they prefer in-person meetings, nearly two-thirds of advisors (64 percent) report interacting with their clients on at least a weekly basis to discuss investment strategy, or simply touch-base. Advisors virtually unanimously (96 percent) anticipate that this frequency of communication should continue in the next five-to-ten years, with almost 38 percent expecting it to increase by more than 50 percent.

"Effective, consistent communication is the bedrock of the advisor-client relationship and a strategic imperative in human-centric advising," said Julie Genjac, Managing Director, Strategic Markets at Hartford Funds. "As advisors thread the needle and both communicate more frequently and meet in-person, it's essential that they embrace firm-approved digital alternatives (like video chat) that allow for more regular, face-to-face interactions."

Group Informational Sessions an Important Value-Add

As they communicate more frequently with their clients, advisors are also seeking ways to provide critical value-add outside of their regular discussions. Over half of advisors (53 percent) reported hosting group informational sessions (regarding trending investment topics, market updates, technology, and other subjects) at least quarterly, and three-quarters (75 percent) do so annually.

"Value-add content is a critical way for advisors to guide their clients on issues related and unrelated to their finances," said John Diehl, Senior Vice President of Strategic Markets at Harford Funds. "Considering their widespread preference for face-to-face interaction, advisors must leverage workshops and group informational sessions to provide valuable insight in-person on important issues, and thereby ensure that their client relationships are more fruitful and rewarding."



The survey of 116 financial advisors was administered in-person in June 2018.

About Hartford Funds


Founded in 1996, Hartford Funds is a leading asset manager, which provides mutual funds, ETFs, and 529 college savings plans. Using its human-centric investing approach, Hartford Funds creates strategies and tools designed to address the needs and wants of investors. Leveraging partnerships with leading experts, Hartford Funds delivers insight into the latest demographic trends and investor behavior.

The firm's line-up includes more than 55 mutual funds in a variety of styles and asset classes, as well as a variety of multifactor and active ETFs. Its mutual funds (with the exception of certain fund of funds) are sub-advised by Wellington Management or Schroder Investment Management North America Inc. The strategic beta ETFs offered by Hartford Funds are designed to help address investors' evolving needs by leveraging a unique risk-optimized approach, which identifies risks within each asset class and then deliberately and systematically re-allocates capital toward risks more likely to enhance return potential. Excluding affiliated funds of funds, as of March 31, 2018, Hartford Funds Management Company, LLC and its wholly owned subsidiary, Lattice Strategies LLC, had approximately $115.4 billion in discretionary and non-discretionary assets under management. For more information about our investment family, visit www.hartfordfunds.com.

HIG-W

Some of the statements in this release may be considered forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution investors that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially. Investors should consider the important risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ. These important risks and uncertainties include those discussed in The Hartford's Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, our 2017 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the other filings The Hartford makes with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no obligation to update this release, which speaks as of the date issued.

From time to time, The Hartford may use its website to disseminate material company information. Financial and other important information regarding The Hartford is routinely accessible through and posted on our website at http://ir.thehartford.com. In addition, you may automatically receive email alerts and other information about The Hartford when you enroll your email address by visiting the "Email Alerts" section at http://ir.thehartford.com.

Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.

Investors should carefully consider a fund's investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained in a fund's full prospectus and summary prospectus, which can be obtained by visiting hartfordfunds.com. Please read it carefully before investing.

Mutual funds are distributed by Hartford Funds Distributors, LLC (HFD), Member FINRA. Exchange-traded products are distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. (ALPS). Advisory services are provided by Hartford Funds Management Company, LLC (HFMC) and its wholly owned subsidiary, Lattice Strategies, LLC (Lattice). Certain funds are sub-advised by Wellington Management Company LLP or Schroder Investment Management North America Inc. Schroder Investment Management North America Ltd. serves as a secondary sub-adviser to certain funds. Hartford Funds refers to HFD, HFMC, and Lattice, which are not affiliated with any sub-adviser or ALPS.

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