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More Than Two-Thirds of Broker-Dealer and RIA Executives Focusing Innovation Strategies on Boomers
Poll Highlights Challenges of Adapting to Demographic Shifts and Fostering InnovationBOSTON – A new Fidelity Investments® poll, taken at the company’s annual Executive Forum client event, finds that broker-dealer and registered investment advisor (RIA) firm executives are focusing their innovation strategies on their current customer base --primarily Boomers -- rather than focusing on the next generations of investors. Two-thirds (67 percent) of executives said that Boomers (ages 49-67) and Matures (age 68 and older) are the investor groups that most influence their innovation strategies; fewer than one quarter (23 percent) said they are focused on Gen X (ages 34-48) and Gen Y (ages 18-33).
“While Boomers hold the bulk of the nation’s wealth today, there is a significant wealth shift looming -- a transfer of a projected $1 trillion from the Boomer generation to Gen X and Gen Y -- every year for the next 40 years ,” said Michael Durbin, president, Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services. “Firms focused on serving their current base, while also anticipating and adapting to changing investor dynamics, may be the best positioned to capture these assets in motion.”
According to the poll, the biggest challenge executives face in driving innovation in their firms is changing employees’ mindsets, which could explain why so many firms remain more focused on Boomers. Another challenge that firm leaders may be imposing on themselves is that nearly half of them are relying on the executive team to generate new ideas (47 percent). Yet, these leaders recognize that good ideas can come from anywhere, with one quarter reporting “the most passionate employees” generate the majority of new ideas (25 percent).
“Fresh insights and new approaches exist in the minds of nearly all employees -- the question is: are they being shared?,” said Sanjiv Mirchandani, president, National Financial®, a Fidelity Investments company. “Fostering cultures of innovation, which create the energy and openness to enable people to share and promote new ideas, may ultimately help drive the greatest growth in the financial advice business.”
Only 55 percent of the executives polled regarded their firms as more innovative than others in the industry -- underscoring an opportunity for firm leaders to spend more time focusing on how to energize new thinking in their firms. In addition to finding new ideas within their firms, all of the leaders said they looked to customers and peers to draw inspiration from the outside.
The 15th annual Executive Forum was held April 29 - 30 in Naples, FL. The event was attended by more than 300 executives, most of whom are clients of Fidelity’s custody and clearing units, which administer more than $1 trillion in combined assetsi. The speakers highlighted a range of insights that leaders may want to consider for fostering innovation:
1. Be open to new ideas: don’t let what you know get in the way of your imagination.
2. Create environments of risk-taking, innovation and accountability, and instill cultures where employees are not afraid to fail and learn from mistakes.
3. Harness the power of collective thinking -- both inside and outside the firm -- not just the wisdom of a few leaders.
4. Maintain human connections in an increasingly technology-driven world.
5. Consider applying innovations from game design, loyalty programs and behavioral economics to help drive greater engagement with prospects, clients and employees.
The event included speakers from Fidelity, as well as industry experts and academic thought leaders, to help executives focus on innovation within their businesses. The external speakers included: Bill Taylor, author and co-founder of Fast Company; Tony Wagner, Innovation Education Fellow, Technology & Entrepreneurship Center, Harvard University; Gabe Zichermann, chief executive officer, Gamification Co & Dopamine Inc.; Ian Bremmer, president, Eurasia Group; Andrew McAfee, Center of Digital Business, MIT Sloan School of Management; Walter Isaacson, author, president and chief executive officer, The Aspen Institute. The event concluded with a keynote from the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton.
About the Executive Forum Poll
The Fidelity 2013 Executive Forum Poll was conducted April 29-30, 2013. One hundred and four Fidelity clients attending Executive Forum completed questionnaires at the event. The results of this poll may not be representative of all financial advisors meeting the same criteria as those surveyed at the Fidelity 2013 Executive Forum.
About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity Investments is one of the world’s largest providers of financial services, with assets under administration of $4.2 trillion, including managed assets of $1.8 trillion, as of April 30, 2013. Founded in 1946, the firm is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and many other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals and institutions, as well as through 5,000 financial intermediary firms. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit www.fidelity.com.
i As of March 31, 2013.