In a recent episode of The Advisor Journey, Altruist CEO Jason Wenk and co-host Dasarte Yarnway discussed their predictions for the advisor space in 2024. Below is a preview of what they see in the crystal ball for this year. To hear the full predictions – and for more real-life strategies to help start or scale your advisory business – subscribe to The Advisor Journey wherever you get your podcasts.
1. Human advice is back (back)
Human advice will continue to show its superiority in 2024. Quality advice from human advisors never went away, even though some people may have forgotten about it. For a cautionary tale about the ability of technology to make humans redundant, just look at how robo advisors are faring.
It wasn’t long ago that some folks predicted these automated investing tools would soon take the place of real people. Not only has that not happened, the opposite is proving to be true.
Many robo advisors are struggling to generate enough business to be profitable, while others are shutting down entirely. In December, JP Morgan announced it would be shuttering its robo advice business later this year, citing a lack of demand.
The takeaway? Technology can augment humans and make them better, but it can’t replace them.
2. The entrepreneurial advisor is the advisor of the future
Smaller firms focused on providing exceptional advice will continue to define growth in the RIA space in 2024. Those who follow industry forecasts closely may recall past predictions about looming consolidation and a future dominated by big RIA firms. That hasn't been the case.
It turns out that if you stick good advisors into large firms and limit their freedom and growth potential, they’ll eventually look for a path to independence. In fact, the biggest segment of breakaway advisors coming to Altruist are those who leave large RIAs to start their own firms.
Among them are advisors like Ami Shah, CEO of Steward, who split from her firm after getting frustrated by its minimum net-worth requirements that prevented her from serving first-generation high earners.
Or consider Daniel Yerger, who was feeling stagnant at his hybrid broker-dealer/RIA and left to launch his own firm, MY Wealth Partners. Not only did he and his associate retain 100% of their existing clients, but the firm also saw revenue nearly triple in its first three years of operations.
As passionate specialists like Ami and Daniel look to differentiate themselves and better serve clients, they are setting a standard for the future defined by two key factors:
- Better technology
- More personalized advice
Financial Advice 3.0
The future of financial advice is moving beyond basic guidance and reactive responses to problems, and toward creating deeply personalized financial plans that “future-proof” client portfolios and provide tangible value in areas beyond investment vehicles.
The Kitces blog dubs this evolution, “Financial Advice 3.0,” and draws parallels to the field of medicine. If “Medicine 1.0” was guided by supernatural beliefs, and “Medicine 2.0” (where we are now) focuses on treating symptoms as they occur, “Medicine 3.0” is the future – a world where doctors focus on preventative care and personalized plans for patients.
Financial advice is following a similar trajectory. Financial Advice 1.0 was an era where “advice” was used primarily as a means to sell products. We later evolved into the current 2.0 stage, defined by thoughtful financial planning – which, while effective, leaves some advisors struggling to differentiate their firms and justify their fees. The Financial Advice 3.0 model paints a future where advisors find new ways to provide value – going beyond advice to advocacy.
The successful advisors of tomorrow will leverage new technologies to solve problems before they present themselves, provide hyper-personalized financial plans that are dynamic and responsive to individuals’ unique circumstances, and extend into new arenas where people can benefit from sound advice – subjects like healthcare, taxes, and wellness – to improve client outcomes holistically.
3. Tech's true colors: leaders will emerge
What will happen with financial advisor technology in 2024? You’ve likely also seen iterations of the fintech map assembled by Kitces:
With so many players in the game, the big question is: how long can this last? In the latest episode of the Advisor Journey, Jason and Dasarte explain why they think a major shift could be coming
With higher interest rates and less VC funding going around, they argue that consolidation in the fintech space is inevitable this year. The reality is that many companies are doing the same thing (and not all of them doing it well) – creating an overlap that is simply not sustainable.
In 2024, some winners will emerge, while other names will fade. The beneficiaries? Again, advisors and their clients, as they will be able to enjoy the best services and tools available on the market.
For a more in-depth look into The Advisor Journey’s predictions for 2024, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast.