5th December 2017

Survey reveals financial services slow to adopt growth-driving initiatives

A new survey of financial professionals released by BNY Mellon's Pershing reveals that the financial services industry has yet to fully embrace initiatives that will make it relevant to the next generation of investors. Further, regulatory uncertainty may be overshadowing some of the longer-term challenges facing the industry.

According to the study, titled "Business Transformation: Navigating A Path Forward", uncertainty in the political and regulatory landscape is cited as the main challenge to business by 71 per cent of respondents, followed by the Department of Labour (DOL) Fiduciary Rule (67 per cent), and an aging client base and difficulties in reaching young clients (65 per cent).

The majority (68 per cent) of financial professionals responding to the survey acknowledge that reaching new and untapped investor segments will be a key factor in driving growth and that developing a digital advisory platform would help them acquire Gen Y clients (62 per cent). Yet, 24 per cent of respondents are not considering leveraging a digital advisor platform. Further, only 3 per cent are using a digital advisor platform and a mere two percent say their practice has made the decision to launch one.

"The findings largely reaffirm what we are seeing in the marketplace," said Rob Cirrotti, Managing Director of Investment and Retirement Solutions at BNY Mellon's Pershing. "Firms have spent a fair amount of time adapting to the changes in the regulatory environment. Now, it is time to move beyond the regulatory uncertainty. We must engage in a wider conversation about how technology and talent can create the scale and efficiencies needed to transform the business for the future."

The survey was conducted by Aite Group among 290 US financial professionals from broker-dealers, banks, insurance firms, and registered investment advisors during the month of July 2017. The survey gauged financial professionals' sentiments around, and their response to, the shifts in the business and regulatory environment, as well as their attitudes toward new technologies.