Most investors will seek advice, but it's 'all about timing:' Filene, CUNA Mutual study

March 4, 2016

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (3/4/16)--New consumer investment research released by CUNA Mutual Group and Filene Research Institute indicate a majority of hardworking consumers will seek financial guidance at critical times of their lives.

More than 550 financial advisers and credit union program leaders attending CUNA Brokerage Services Inc. FOCUS conference learned about decision dynamics that affect when and how consumers engage with a financial adviser.

Topline results in Filene’s new research report and presentation, “Financial Preferences and Attributes of Middle-Income Investors,” show 69% of consumers want to engage in investment conversations when the timing is right, and 45% look for advice when their life circumstances change. However, more than 42% say they only talk to an adviser once a year or less, with roughly 19% never engaging with an adviser.

“In a changing and uncertain economic environment, we see our work in the broader context of a person’s life,” said Jeff Bosco, CUNA Mutual senior vice president of wealth management. “Our solutions must address customers’ needs today and support their vision for stronger financial security, helping them be more confident about their future.”

The research indicated that middle-income investors want a financial adviser who is local, affordable, and not complicated.

“Among the total sample, local firms or independent advisers with good expertise are the hands-down winners,” the report said. “These advisers offer straightforward, affordable investment strategies and an attractive mix of face-to-face interactions.”

With their reputation for service quality, emphasizing affordable fees, personalization and convenience of local financial advisers is a natural for credit unions, the paper said. “However, the quality of the adviser matters. One of the most prominent findings in this report is that consumers need to feel justified that the fee paid to their adviser or service provider is worth the investment.”