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Connecting with potential Gen Y Clients: Two Views

By ClientWise | October 9, 2012

For a variety of reasons, the financial advisor workforce is getting older. Although there are a number of important implications to this trend, one widely-held view is that senior advisors will not be able to attract and engage the younger Gen Y investor with their marketing...by virtue of an unbridgeable generation gap.

An example of this viewpoint is this observation from the 16th Annual World Wealth Report, 2012:

“While the average age of HNWIs is getting younger, the same cannot be said of advisors. Older, successful advisors play a crucial role in maintaining and growing the existing client base, and grooming young advisors. However, if these tenured advisors favor advisory methods (and technology) that do not resonate with younger HNWIs, important client needs could go unmet. Firms will therefore need to map advisors to the appropriate category of clients to ensure the relationships are well-matched, and perhaps develop a younger advisor workforce for younger HNWIs to relate to.”

As a counterbalance to this view, there is an engaging new white paper, recently published by The Center for Generational Kinetics, entitled, Gen Y is Ready to Invest. Are You Ready to Advise Them?”

One of the most interesting conclusions in this report is the following statement. “Regardless of their generation, the financial professionals who consistently win Gen Y’s business are those who are aware of their generational attitudes and can adjust to how Gen Y wants to be attracted, retained, and referred.”

In fact, one of the authors’ conclusions is that Silent Generation financial advisors (i.e. born before 1946) have a built-in advantage with Gen Y…because Gen Y trusts the Silent Generation most! [Wow!]

More specifically, they offer four specific steps that ANY financial advisor can take to bridge the generational gap:


  • Position your initial get-to-know-you conversation to include the life events that Gen Y-ers think about most — within the context of their “delayed adulthood.” (Gen Y tends to enter all of life’s different stages at later ages than prior generations.)
  • Convert your presentations and sales documents into a format Gen Y trusts and understands, with an emphasis on technology, quick hits of information, and visuals. (Gen Y is not the only generation moving this way!)
  • Position yourself as an information resource rather than a financial professional, which means offering to help educate Gen Y first and offering an investment second. (Gen Y relies on online resources and their own “due diligence”.)
  • Adjust how you communicate to fit Gen Y’s communication style. (Think texting and social media!)


The upshot is this. Gen Y communicates differently. They have different priorities for their lives and money. They gather information differently. They refer friends and family differently. And they certainly don’t trust their family’s financial advisor just because they’ve helped the family successfully for generations.

Advisors who recognize these differences, and who use their emotional intelligence to adjust their financial advisor marketing accordingly, have positioned themselves to serve some of the 80 million investors who are fast entering the financial services marketplace.


For a ClientWise Learning Tool on how you might use social media to engage prospective clients, and retain existing ones, please download this complimentary tool:


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Topics: Client Acquisition Marketing Approach Business Development Millennials

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