In brief:

  • The Millennial generation will want financial advice but the sector must adapt to their needs
  • Ethical and impact investing offer attractive investment opportunities that meet millennials desire to see their money achieve purpose
  • Online platforms can go some way to breaking down current barriers
  • Financial advisers who look to collaborate with this generation will find richly rewarding client relationships
  • Advisers must be ready with the knowledge and tools to advise on impact investing.

The time for the millennial generation has already begun and, as research has shown, I’m sorry to say they’re not too keen on you[1]. But, never fear, the sun will not set on the financial adviser.

Who are millennials?

Millennials are those, like myself, born between 1980 and 2000, and now vastly outnumber our Baby Boomer parents making up a quarter of the UK population[2].

Our formative years have been shaped by such events as the dotcom boom, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the iPhone, the financial collapse of 2008, Barack Obama’s election and the advent of legal gay marriage to name but a few. We engage with the world in ways like no other generation (almost 90% of us look at our smartphones within 15 minutes of waking[3] and vastly favour mobile devices over desktops[4]) and feel a sense of awareness, responsibility and interconnectedness with those not just outside our family, but also outside our community, country and our continent.

But we are not all the same; this generation is diverse and heterogeneous. Our finance needs will differ not only from previous generations but also from each other and therefore financial services need to adapt with us.

What does this mean for you?

Fast forward to the hotly reported $30 trillion[5] wealth transfer due to happen over the coming decades. Unfortunately, InvestmentNews[6] reports that 66% of children fire their financial adviser after receiving their inheritance. This is because advisers fail to adapt and why the internet is now littered with articles on how to help financial planners engage the next generation.

Robo-advice, such as EQ Investors’ “Simply EQ”, which offers an online platform paired with phone or face-to-face advice, can help engage a younger client demographic by offering a gateway into financial services that is more in keeping with a younger mindset.

When it comes to investment opportunities, Millennials are no longer simply looking to make money; we are looking for what impact our money can have. To be able to deliver a positive outcome as well as generating a financial return will be a no-brainer to Generation Y. A study by Morgan Stanley[7] found that 78% of HNW Millennials are interested or very interested in impact investing compared to 45% of HNWIs overall. However, a recent Toniic survey[8] revealed that one of the four key challenges shared by millennials when it came to impact investment was “Lack of support from financial advisors.”

How do we bridge the gap?

As a report by Accenture[9] outlines: “with a majority of Millennials identifying themselves as “self-directed” investors, they spend a significant amount of time researching alternatives and consult multiple sources before making major investment decisions.” So, it’s time for financial advisers to make sure they are one of those sources. Engage and explore Millennials’ values, hopes and global consciousness and use the latest technology to empower them to make their investment decisions. Build your impact investment knowledge and look out for a new training initiative for social investment that will be launching in the next couple of months.

With every new generation, there will be shifts in attitudes and behaviours; this is not something to shy away from nor to write off as the folly of the young. It’s not a case of rebellion, it’s a new view of the world than needs to be responded to.

Be bold and make sure you’re ready for Generation Y.


Written by Megan Lawrence, Operations and Communications Manager at Worthstone with assistance from Jeannie Boyle, Technical Director at EQ Investors.

[1] Cutler, Neal E., Millennials and finance: The Amazon Generation, 2015, October

[2] Inkling Millennial Report 2015

[3] Millennials and wealth management

[4] The Global Mobile report 2015

[5] The “Greater” Wealth Transfer 2012

[6] http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20150713/FEATURE/150719999/the-great-wealth-transfer-is-coming-putting-advisors-at-risk

[7] Investing in the Future 2016

[8] Millennials & Impact Investment Report, 2016

[9] http://www.accenture.com/gb-en/insight-generation-d-emerging-important-investor-segment-summary