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Market Research - January 8, 2018

5 Trends Financial Advisors Should Discuss with Clients in 2018

Every year, it gets increasingly important to anticipate technology advances rather than chase after them. With YCharts’ 2017 year in review complete, it’s time to get in front of the forecasted trends for 2018. There have been noticeable changes happening in the financial world, including but not limited to the surge in cryptocurrency trading and the continued interest in cybersecurity and machine learning. In order to make sure you’re prepared to discuss the following five fintech trends with your clients, as they will inevitably come up this year, please check out this post.

Blockchain

Blockchain aims to help build a better worldwide financial system. As a powerful technology that serves as the backbone to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain is growing rapidly. Blockchain may become beneficial to all those moving towards a digital lifestyle, meaning no more checkbooks and cash. With a daily transaction volume well into five figures, cryptocurrencies have an aggregate market cap in the hundred billions (USD). The main appeal of blockchain is transaction security and verification, from which, by further leveraging the technology, companies may greatly benefit. According to Forbes, blockchain has successfully withstood cyberattacks for more than 8 years. When it comes to your clients asking which cryptocurrencies, if any, they should get into, it’s up to you as the advisor. InvestmentNews explains how advisers can prepare by learning all about the new technology and thus be ready for potential disruption. Check out this beginners guide for a better understanding (unless you’re a Merrill Lynch advisor!).

Bitcoin percent growth in 2017

Robo-Advisors

Robo-advisors have been evolving in the last decade with the launch of platforms like Betterment and Wealthfront. Robo-advisors offer investors the ability to transact and receive advice online, and often appeal to millennials and do-it-yourselfers. While robo-advisors may reduce fees compared to the typical RIA, they often provide limited investment choices. In one of our recent blog posts, we discussed how many financial advisors are adapting to new technology and are already leveraging robo-advisors to increase efficiency and free up time to spend with clients. Are robo-advisors part of your 2018 strategy?

Digital Banking

Walking into a bank may become obsolete to future generations. Business Insider says, “digital channels will play a bigger role in banking as they eat away at traditional services.” Banks are continuing to invest in technology that enable us to be more efficient with our time when making financial transactions, as well as using technology to reach new users in areas where they may lack a physical presence. Mobile bank applications enable users to make mobile deposits, disable a card, and even create travel alerts in the apps. In 2018, adapting to online and mobile technology for financial transactions isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. In fact, companies like PayPal are showing 90.66% growth as consumers opt for quicker, more efficient options to make financial transactions.

PayPal outperformed the market last year, growing by 90.66%, while the S&P 500 grew by 20.75%.

Cybersecurity

Theft of personal information like passwords and social security numbers was a common occurrence in 2017. Technological growth leads to the need for cybersecurity, as people deal with highly sensitive and private information on their various devices. With the rise of security breaches, cybersecurity has become a top-of-mind concern for many firms — nobody wants to be the next Equifax. According to CNBCcybersecurity should be discussed openly between clients and their advisors. Gaining client trust is achieved by ensuring the security of their private data and keeping them informed.

Investment Research

It’s no surprise that smart investors are ditching outdated terminal-based solutions for more cost-effective and intuitive online investment research platforms. According to the 2017 Software Survey compiled by T3, Advisor Perspectives and Inside Information, investment professionals are opting for powerful research tools that don’t break their budget. We anticipate that this trend will continue throughout 2018, as platforms such as Morningstar and Hidden Levers topped the list along with YCharts. We’re proud to be the only company that ranked in the top 2 for multiple categories, including market share ranking and tools that respondents are thinking about adding. Are you ready to reevaluate your outdated research tools?

It’s important to stay informed about the trends and advances in fintech as the year continues. Now more than ever, technology enables investors to be smarter, so be sure to keep these trends top-of-mind as you plan for your 2018 client discussions.

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