Most Investors Use the Internet for Financial Research, Tools and Transactions; However, Two-Thirds Prefer to Interact with Advisors in Person

Technology Used More Prevalently by Younger Generations of Investors

Dec 17, 2014, 10:00 ET from Signator Investors, Inc.

BOSTON, Dec. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- While American investors prefer to research financial product and industry information online, and the majority has used online financial tools and conducted financial transactions online, two-thirds still prefer to interact with their financial advisor in person, according to recent research for Signator Investors, Inc., an independent broker dealer owned by John Hancock, the US Division of Manulife.

The data was collected as part of John Hancock's Investor Sentiment Survey, a quarterly measure of investors' views on a range of investment choices, life goals and economic outlook. Respondents are Americans who participate to some extent in their household's financial decision-making process, and have a household income of at least $75,000 and assets of $100,000 or more.

"We see these results as being very positive for the industry," said Matthew Rigatti, vice president, Signator Investors, Inc. "While technology clearly is important in investors' lives, and used more prevalently by the younger generations of investors, that two-thirds of investors say meeting face to face is the way they want to interact with advisors tells us they find value in what advisors bring to the table."

Investors Use Internet to Conduct Transactions, Gather Financial Info and Assess Financial Situation

  • Eighty percent of all investors have conducted financial transactions online.
  • Many investors have used online tools, calculators or quizzes to assess their financial needs regarding retirement savings or income (53%), social security claiming strategies (19%), budgeting (16%), life insurance (14%) and college savings (11%). 
  • For information on financial products, nearly six in ten investors (59%) said they prefer using the Internet to research it themselves. They also reported receiving it from financial advisors (44%) or reading it in financial industry publications (24%) as the next most popular methods.
  • When looking for financial industry news and information, investors are most likely to access it through online newspapers and magazines (39%); traditional newspapers and magazines (22%), and other online sites (13%).

Two-Thirds of Investors Prefer Interacting with Financial Advisor in Person
Overall, investors' top preference for interacting with advisors was meeting face to face, with nearly seven in ten investors (66%) stating this. More than half (52%) also cited the phone, and 35 percent mentioned email.

Younger Generations of Investors Use Technology More Often
While investors overall preferred using the Internet and asking advisors for information about financial products, using the Internet was cited by more respondents under 45 than by older groups, 66 percent compared to 60 percent of those 45-64.  Only 51 percent of those 65+ cited researching online as a preferred method, 54 percent said they preferred getting the information from advisors.

When looking for financial industry news and information, the two younger groups cited online publications as their top preference, preferred by 51 percent of those under 45, and 39 percent by those 45-64. Those 65+ said they most preferred traditional newspapers and magazines (36%) and only 28 percent of this group said online publications were a preference.

Four-fifths (80%) of all investors have conducted financial transactions online, though nearly a third (29%) of those 65+ said they never had, compared to 17 percent of those respondents aged 45-64, and 11 percent of those under 45.

While many investors have used online tools, calculators or quizzes to assess their financial needs, percentages of those never having used these tools increased with age. Thirty percent of those under 45; 36 percent of those 45-64 and more than half of those 65+ had not ever used online tools.

In every age group, investors' top preference for interacting with advisors was meeting face to face, but technology was more popular in the younger groups. Those under 45 cited email as the second most preferred method of connecting with an adviser by 51 percent. Email dropped to the third-most preferred method in the older groups, with 34 percent of respondents 45-64, and 26 percent of those 65+, citing it. In both of those groups, phone was the second most popular way of connecting.

About the John Hancock Investor Sentiment Survey™
John Hancock's Investor Sentiment Survey is a quarterly poll of affluent investors.  The survey measures investors' feelings about the current economic climate and their evaluations of what represents a good or bad investment given the current environment.  The poll also asks consumers about their confidence in reaching key financial goals and their attitudes toward specific financial products and services. This online survey was conducted by independent research firm Greenwald & Associates.  A total of 1,203 investors were surveyed from August 11th to August 22nd, 2014.  To qualify, respondents were required to participate at least to some extent in their household's financial decision-making process, have a household income of at least $75,000, and assets of $100,000 or more.  The data were weighted by age and education to reflect the population of Americans matching the survey's qualification requirements. In a similarly-sized random sample survey, the margin of error would be plus or minus 2.88 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.  Due to rounding and missing categories, numbers presented may not always total to 100 percent.

About Signator Investors, Inc.
Founded in 1968, Signator Investors, Inc., powered by John Hancock Financial Network, is an independent broker/dealer-Registered Investment Adviser based in Boston, Mass., that supports a national network of independent firms with more than 1,850 advisors and representatives across the U.S. Signator partners with financial professionals who have proven experience and share its commitment to putting clients first. The firm's open product platform includes a comprehensive range of investment, advisory and protection products from leading carriers.  And its first-class support, wealth of local and national resources and flexible business models help entrepreneurially minded financial professionals ensure that their clients are well taken care of. For more information, please visit

Securities and investment advisory services offered through Signator Investors, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC, a registered investment adviser. 197 Clarendon St., Boston, MA 02116.


SOURCE Signator Investors, Inc.