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More customers seek advice—and it’s in branches

Most likely to turn to primary bank for wealth management

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More customers seek advice—and it’s in branches

More consumers are turning to financial advisors for money management assistance, according to research by Mercator Advisory Group.

Thirty-seven percent report using financial advisors, up from 34% in 2013. While higher-income earners have always been more likely than average to use financial advisors, in 2014 young adults were even more likely to use advisors than older adults.

“As branch visits decline over time, consumers come into the branch for more than purely transactions. They are increasingly seeking advice and a broader range of convenient financial services,” says Karen Augustine, manager of Primary Data Services including CustomerMonitor Survey Series at Mercator Advisory Group and author of the report.

More concern for the future

Today, young adults appear to be cautious, planning for their future sooner than their parents did.

Not only do more consumers have wealth management accounts, increasingly they have them at their primary bank, credit union, or other financial institution—20%, up from 16% in 2013.

Young adults are nearly twice as likely as average to seek financial advice from their primary bank or credit union through a wealth management account or relationship. Consumers who have wealth management accounts are more likely to have them at national banks, especially if the account is at their primary bank or credit union.

Consumers seeking financial advice through wealth management relationships are especially interested in being made aware of potential products, special offers, and services that may benefit them based on their personal account history and payment behavior, Mercator’s research found. They are more likely to want to be notified about these products in person rather than in an email.

Branches remain the center of most retail customers’ banking world, where they can speak with and interact with knowledgeable personnel on important issues that cannot be solved as easily through self-service methods.

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