A new MDRT study uncovers how advisors perceive and embrace these new technologies
The digitalization of the financial services profession is continuously advancing, as advisors adapt to current trends, find new ways to streamline their practice and forge deeper connections with clients. Following the public debut of ChatGPT, professionals everywhere have tapped into the capabilities of generative AI. To gauge financial advisors’ awareness, use of and trust in generative AI, MDRT surveyed 617 U.S. financial advisors in October 2023.
The survey found that the majority of advisors are aware of what generative AI is and its role in financial advising, and 82.5% of them are leveraging it. This highlights how advisors continue striving to enhance their business by staying on top of relevant trends and opportunities.
Ninety-four percent of U.S. advisors and insurance agents stated they had at least heard of generative AI, including 94.9% of male advisors and 92.7% of female advisors. Additionally, advisors ages 18-44 were slightly more likely (96%) than advisors ages 45+ (92.4%) to have heard of generative AI. Advisors of all ages were aware of what generative AI is, debunking the common misconception that only the younger generations stay on top of technological advancements. The opportunity to grow your business and lean into new opportunities is not limited to certain tools based on age or gender – all advisors should take advantage of what any new capabilities have to offer.
With an overwhelming majority of advisors aware of what generative AI is, it doesn’t come as a surprise that most of them have a solid understanding of how it can be used in their practice. According to the survey, 72.6% of advisors stated they have at least some knowledge of how generative AI can be used in financial advising practices.
The apparent interest in AI-powered tools from financial advisors indicates a readiness for the next step: discovering how it can be used in their own practice. In our field, it’s important to adapt to ongoing trends and use new tools to avoid being left behind. For example, let’s say you’ve been an advisor for the past 30 years, and your business is doing the best it ever has. It’s important to avoid becoming stagnant as your business progresses – your business trajectory depends on your dedication to ongoing education about new capabilities and developing your service. Regardless of the current status of your business, it’ll always be beneficial to new discover tools and tactics that’ll help your business continue flourishing for years to come.
Putting AI In Play
Eighty-two percent of respondents said they leverage generative AI for at least one use in their practice, including 90.2% of advisors ages 18-44 and 71.8% of advisors ages 45 and older. Male advisors were more likely (86.3%) to use the technology than female advisors (68.6%), but there is one theme across demographic lines – advisors generally recognize the value of incorporating generative AI in their practice. Leveraging new, relevant technology and fusing its capabilities with yours will help strengthen your business overall.
The various capabilities of generative AI make it a perfect tool for busy financial advisors consistently working to improve their client service. The survey discovered that the most common uses of generative AI amongst the advisors who do use it were for employee onboarding processes (46.5%), processing employee and/or client data (41.4%) and client communications (40.4%). By incorporating generative AI in your practice, you can streamline necessary processes to dedicate more time to advice and overall client service.
Let’s say you spend about 20 hours per month drafting recap emails to send to clients following meetings. Instead of spending extra time after each meeting to develop a detailed email, you could upload a previous recap email you sent to a client and your notes from the last meeting to a generative AI program, then ask it to develop a similar email for you. Allowing an AI-powered tool to help you complete more time-consuming tasks that clients appreciate will help you continue to showcase your dedication to them, while simultaneously reserving extra time for other tasks.
Willing To Learn, Willing To Trust
Seventeen percent of advisors stated they don’t use generative AI in their practice, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to learn how they can incorporate it. Among the advisors who don’t already leverage generative AI, 50% stated they’re at least somewhat likely to learn about using it in their practice. This includes 55.4% of male advisors and 51.4% of advisors ages 45 and older. The continued show of interest in learning about AI-powered tools, especially with advisors ages 45 and older, highlights their ability to stay flexible at all points in their careers. Having that necessary flexibility will help you continue to evolve with ongoing trends.
The majority of advisors also indicated a sense of trust in generative AI programs, with 73.5% of them stating they have at least some trust in implementing AI-powered tools in financial advising practices. Male advisors (81.6%) and advisors ages 18-44 (78.9%) were more likely to trust generative AI than female advisors (55.1%) and advisors ages 45 and older (68%).
Putting your trust in many technological tools can be intimidating, as the sensitive nature of the topics within financial services makes security a top priority for all advisors. That’s why it’s imperative to use precautions when leveraging generative AI in your practice, such as familiarizing yourself with your local data privacy laws, researching the privacy guidelines of the AI programs you’re using and avoiding uploading personal information.
For instance, if you’re processing large amounts of data for a new client via a generative AI program, be sure to only include general information and leave out the more sensitive details, such as date of birth, account numbers, phone numbers and social security. This will help streamline the intake process while keeping your clients protected from any unforeseen threats. By ensuring there are safeguards around your clients’ and employees’ data when using generative AI, you can comfortably put your trust in its capabilities.
The financial services profession is always evolving, so new expertise and advice from fellow professionals will always be necessary. In order to continue pushing your business to reach and exceed your goals, you have to be able to meet current demands from consumers and match what your peers are doing. Generative AI is a steppingstone to building a business that designates time to providing best-in-class client service and perfecting internal processes, offering more satisfaction for both your clients and your employees. Secure your future in financial advising by familiarizing yourself with tools that can help skyrocket your business.
This article has been provided by MDRT, the Premier Association of Financial Professionals®. For more information, visit mdrt.org and follow them on Twitter at @MDRtweet.