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UK millennials’ smartphone use could be ‘challenge’ for face-to-face adviser models

19 June 2017

Almost half of UK millennials want to do all their financial planning on a smartphone, according to a study by investment house Legg Mason, a trend which poses a challenge for financial advisers, who have traditionally delivered their services face-to-face.

In its 2017 Global Investment Survey, its fifth annual survey of investor attitudes and sentiment, which assessed the views of 15,300 individuals around the world, it found that UK millennials are increasingly turning to the latest technology when it comes to their savings and investments.

The study found that millennials’ use of technology is far greater than previous generations, such as the baby boomers, with 93% using their mobile phones to access the internet. This compares with just over half of baby boomers (52%) who have yet to embrace smartphones to the same degree, with many instead relying more on home PCs to access the internet.

The proliferation of smartphone use among millennials in the UK means new methods of engagement with financial services have increased in popularity, with 46% of UK millennials keen to use their smartphones to do all their financial planning – the highest in Europe.

In contrast, the survey found that just 13% of baby-boomers would feel comfortable with such an approach.

This is mirrored globally, with 47% of millennials keen to do all their planning on their mobiles, versus just 22% of baby-boomers.

Justin Eede, head of Europe and Americas Distribution at Legg Mason, said: “Millennials are increasingly tech-savvy and this is seeping into every element of their lives, including the way they approach even complex financial needs.

“Services that have traditionally always been delivered face-to-face are now becoming automated, and the use of smartphones for financial planning is another step in that direction. Indeed these statistics reveal the extent to which the demand for fully digital solutions is growing among the younger generation and it will be interesting to see how financial services businesses respond to the challenges this presents.”

However, the report also found that while the desire is there among some segments of the UK to adopt a digital approach to financial planning, only 16% said they were in favour of either technology-only financial planning which has no human interaction, or a proposition that is technology-led but has some human interaction supporting it.

This, the report suggests, indicates that a quasi-solution which offers the option to either speak with an adviser or at least communicate in some way with one remains the most popular solution.

This was reflected in the fact that while 28% of all UK respondents want to do all their planning via their smartphone, 45% said they do not.


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