Advisor | November 2022

Financial consultancy carries an intrinsic, if only apparent, paradox: the bond between human relationship and innovation in a broad sense.

Early financial advisors did not have an office and used to operate off site instead. Therefore, they welcomed all technological advance earlier and with more enthusiasm than any other financial professional. One need only think of the first mobile phones, the first online banks born in the shadow of today’s largest financial networks.

In fact, necessity is the mother of invention. And financial networks, which lack local branches, created digital platforms accessible online in order to fill this gap.

The first lockdown worked as a propeller for the dissemination of the online model. Moreover, online operativity, digital signature, client-advisor web collaboration facilitated financial advisors, who saw the drastic growth of their advantage as compared to traditional banks.  

However, this is the past. What will the future hold? The hybrid model has now become quite successful – talking, talking remotely, and gathering when necessary is the best form of relational democracy of the past decades.

However, some wish to go further, imagining a world in which people can gather in an online environment through their avatars.

This is an evocative hypothesis, and some sectors offer emblematic examples of success. The level of advertising and media pressure put in play by big techs and the estimates of investment in the metaverse over the next years are quite shocking.

The goal of those who think and hope that our lives will be moved to a virtual environment, where people are guests rather than masters of their homes, is clear and comprehensible.

And, to make matters more plausible, some claim that the metaverse will also contribute to science and health, implementing online experimentation. 

The latest surveys on financial consultancy and the metaverse provide some irrefutable data: very few affluent Italians are aware of what the metaverse is and would not entrust their money to avatars in an online environment.

Today, only 22% of end investors know what the metaverse is. Their knowledge comes mostly from their own user experience, generally foreign to the world of finance: entertainment (33%), gaming (29%) education (19%).

15% of Private and HNW clients believe the Metaverse to be one of the megatrends with the highest growth potential as compared to 21% of affluent clients. The prefiguration of use of the metaverse in the field of finance varies according to the generation both among financial professionals and among their clients. 41% of 40-year-old Financial Advisors and Private Bankers believe that the metaverse will be a viable means of interaction with clients; 37% of 40-year-old clients are of the same opinion.

The vast majority of clients (85%) and financial professionals (89%) agree that financial consultancy should be based exclusively on real personal interactions rather than being mediated by digital platforms.

Sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste: people employ the five senses not only to share experiences and emotions, but also to decide whether or not to entrust someone with their money.

Nicola Ronchetti