Wednesday 29 May 2019

Wealth managers - there's a world of opportunity out there

Last weekend the Financial Times ran one of its regular surveys of wealth managers; so far so ordinary. It also ran articles in the same supplement addressing two important issues:
  • 'Generation gap that managers struggle to fill' - referring to the poor take-up of wealth management by the young(er) generation. On top of that apparently, sixty-six percent fire their parent's wealth manager as soon as they inherit and (according to a 2016 survey) only fifteen percent of current clients currently expect their family's relationship with their wealth manager to survive their death.
  • 'Managers adapt to appeal to female clients' quoted a report entitled 'The Financial Power of Women' published by Fidelity International* saying 'women's default position is cautious' and 'women often do not feel confident making decisions about saving [and] investing'.
*Fidelity International (London) currently has no reviews showing in a Google search.

Now comes another killer statistic: this week a survey by EY found that a third of all wealth management clients switched providers within the last three years. Alice Ross of the FT goes on to say 'Wealth managers are painfully aware of all these statistics.'

Now let us throw in another number: at least eighty-four percent of consumers now trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends

That's not our headline, it is from an article in quoting a survey by Bright Local. And there's more (Bright Local again):

So here - below - we publish a table of our own, this time focussing on Google consumer reviews relative to each manager's published number of clients/investors. This is what the firm at the top returns in search:

With few exceptions, this is par for the course. Some have none:

This table raises some obvious questions. Let us see...

Do wealth managers see the value of Google reviews, or of any reviews at all? Some do see the value of less visible forms of review - Nutmeg, for instance, is paying Trustpilot (Google reviews are free):

AJ Bell subscribes to another fee-paying service:

Do wealth managers' potential clients see Google reviews? This bears some scrutiny; wealth managers gain new clients in a myriad of ways - personal recommendation, professional recommendation, through their advertising and marketing and through Google. How do we know the latter? Because many wealth managers are using Google PPC - here are two businesses that have bought Google Ads for the search term 'Sarasin asset management':

And here are two more, this time for the generic search 'wealth managers':

Interesting that these two firms - paying Google for the advertisements that you see above - would seem oblivious to their potential client's next (and obvious) step - to refer to their reviews (highlighted right bang slap in the middle of their advertisement)?

So the first part of the answer is 'yes - because they are buying Google ads'; the so far less well understood answer is 'yes, because every time a potential client looks them up - even if they are not consciously looking for reviews - they are being served reviews by Google, if they have any.'

But if they don't? Here's AJ Bell again:

So here we have a conundrum: wealth managers do subscribe to reviews sites but they don't ask their clients to write reviews to Google. Why do we suppose that might be? It is almost certainly a combination of the following factors:

  • Fear: they know that Google reviews can be a Pandora's Box, that a review once written there can seldom be taken down.
  • Google reviews are not being 'sold', whereas Trustpilot and Feefo have sales forces targeting businesses of all kinds.
Let's look at a business that has found a way to address the issue of overcoming the understandable 'fear' of engaging with Google reviews: Winkworth, the well-known estate agents. Here they are in Blackheath:

The differences are immediately obvious: 
  • Their own reviews show in organic search (saving them having to pay Google or a reviews site) - top left.
  • Their own reviews - and a link to them - appear in 'Reviews from the web' - bottom right - boosting their website's SEO as well as providing a welcome resource for potential clients to reference on their website.
  • They have a great Google score - 4.9 - top right.
  • They have great Google reviews a click away:

  • They look impressive in a generic search:

So what?

The impact this has on a professional service business is profound. It should expect:
  • volumes of inbound calls and clicks through to its website to rise significantly leading to...
  • ...significant savings in all other areas of advertising, marketing, public relations and all other promotional activities

So how did the business above 'manage out the fear factor'? They adopted review management - HelpHound's review management to be precise - and a big part of our function is to moderate every review that flows through the business's website and then on to Google. Not to deflect negative reviews, but to ensure that reviews are factually accurate and don't mislead potential clients or anyone else who reads them. 

The opportunity

If we look at the list above again we can see just what an opportunity the first mover in the area of wealth management has if they have the initiative to grasp it. The wealth managers listed have, between them, 2,217,730 clients, fewer than 0.00004 % of whom have written a review. That's a massive untapped resource in review management terms.

Over to you, wealth managers.

Further reading...

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