A survey¹ on the shape of American private banking, fielded by Forrester on behalf of Comarch, a global banking software provider, has been unveiled. It shows that technologies like video chat, data sharing and VR are increasingly becoming the deciding factor when clients are choosing their advisor, with this said the latter still prefer face-to-face human interaction.

According to the survey,  only about a quarter of Millennial and Gen X (35-54) customers prefer a self-service robo-advisor if it means lower fees.  About 50% of private banking clients in the US prefer having a dedicated advisor over a robo-advisor, even if it means higher fees.

- We see this preference is held most strongly by Millennials (Under 35) and Baby Boomers (55+), which may seem striking, says Sylwia Hans, Financial Services Director, US at Comarch. Private banking clients highly value personal relations with their advisors. IT solutions implemented in the banks should primarily focus on supporting the advisors, and transferring those relations to the digital.

About two fifths of US private banking client respondents (44%) would also be inclined to switch to a new advisor if they provided online contact channels like chat, VR/video chat and data sharing. The likelihood to switch to a new advisor is even higher (57%) when respondents are offered access to all investments and accounts in one place with a single login.

A January 2017 report² by Davis Janowski from Forrester had this to say on human interaction in banking:

While most of the time, automated investment services are, as the name suggests, highly automated, there will be times when human assistance is needed. Onboarding of new clients and funding of accounts should be simpler for banks, but tax time will bring questions and issues similar to what other digital investment managers have experienced. Specifically, banks should plan to have professional compliance and tax expertise available.

¹Q4 2016 Forrester Online Omnibus Survey (US) sponsored by Comarch

Forrester fielded the survey of proprietary questions on behalf of Comarch as part of the Forrester Q4 2016 Omnibus Survey. The base was 5,019 US adults (18+).

²”Banks Could Dominate Digital Investing, But They Won’t”, Forrester Research, Inc., January 5, 2017