How can wealth management firms use LinkedIn to attract retirement assets?

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7 September 2016
Kelley Byrnes

I recently switched jobs and called my financial institution to inquire about moving over the 401(k) I had with my old employer. This experience led me to consider, “Could wealth managers comb LinkedIn or other sites for indications that a client has recently switched jobs?” While it is definitely not efficient to study LinkedIn for an hour each day, a computer program or app could be developed to track this information.

A wealth management firm could build a computer program to track current clients’ career moves. The wealth management company would need a LinkedIn page, which most companies already have, and permission from clients to access their data. A computer program could be designed to store clients’ current job information and alert the wealth management firm of job changes. While some customers may be reluctant to give permission (opt-out), other customers may appreciate the fact that their financial institution will proactively reach out to them to touch-base after a career move (opt-in). Many clients are too busy to contact their financial advisor in a timely manner.

When dealing with client’s financials, it is best if advisors tread cautiously so as not to be viewed as “creepy”. When reaching out to clients, the advisor should initiate conversation with a more generic offer or say they are simply “checking in”, rather than call with an obvious goal of moving over retirement assets.

Another option to attract clients and prospects would be to create an app with utility or appeal (think Yahoo finance or a competitive portfolio management simulation app) and then require LinkedIn data to join. Then wealth management firms could get career data on prospective clients too. The company would have information on anyone who used the app. In that case, maybe the wealth management firm should focus on a gaming app targeted toward people likely to be in high salary industries?

From a compliance perspective, the above solutions entail monitoring the activity inside an app or the activity of the wealth management firm’s LinkedIn page, which are both easier to track than if individual advisors were to attempt prospecting on LinkedIn. And, while some financial advisors at a wealth management firm may have close connections with some of their clients, it is probable that not every client of every FA informs or consults their FA about retiring or switching jobs. In that case, wealth management firms could explore one of the two options to ensure they do not miss the opportunity to attract the retirement assets of a client that spent a decade receiving a consistently high salary at their prior employer. Both solutions are a way for wealth management firms to get a larger share of the 4.7trillion 401(k) market.

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