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Millennial Investors More Conservative, Less Trusting Of Financial Advisors Than Baby Boomers And Gen Xers, According To Accenture Survey

Millennial investors are more conservative and less trusting of financial advisors than baby-boom and Gen X investors, and more inclined to consult other sources before accepting financial advice, according to an Accenture (NYSE: ACN) survey of more than 1,000 high-income, digitally savvy U.S. investors. The survey also revealed that millennials are the most determined of the three generations to learn how to invest and pass along wealth to their families.

Forty-three percent of millennial respondents (age 21-30) described themselves as “conservative” investors, compared with 31 percent of baby-boom respondents (age 46-70). Millennials were also significantly more likely than baby boomers to say they prefer “tried and true” investment options (27 percent vs. 19 percent, respectively). They were four times more likely than baby boomers (28 percent vs. seven percent, respectively) to say they are unwilling to act on the advice of a financial advisor without first consulting other sources. Forty-four percent of millennials said they “spend a lot of time researching alternatives before making a major purchase decision” – compared with 33 percent of baby boomers.

Viable Target

“Surprisingly, the millennial generation has emerged from two boom-and-bust cycles even more conservative about investing and more skeptical of financial advice than the generations that were hit hardest by the market,” said Alex Pigliucci, global managing director of Accenture Wealth and Asset Management Services. “This poses a fundamental challenge for financial advisors who will see the greatest transfer of wealth in history from boomers to their heirs over the next several decades. But counter to prevailing wisdom, our research suggests millennials are a highly viable target for advisors.”

According to the survey, published in Accenture’s new report “Generation D: An Emerging and Important Investor Segment,” millennials are the most driven among the generations to build and pass along wealth, and the most interested in mastering investment strategy. Forty percent of millennial respondents said they are “determined” to pass along wealth to their families, compared to 25 percent of baby boomers and Gen Xers (age 31-45). Forty-four percent of millennials described themselves as “extremely” interested to improve their understanding of investing compared to 38 percent of older respondents.

The survey points to unmet demand for online investor education and advisor-interaction tools that could increase millennial investing and help bridge the “trust gap” with financial advisors. Presented with concepts for new online educational resources – ranging from online investment forums and educational web-based video services, to virtual advisor chats, webinars and social media – millennial respondents showed overwhelming interest.

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