Generation app

Ridhima Sharma
Generation app

Almost half of UK millennials want to do all their financial planning on a smartphone, a Legg Mason study has found.

According to Legg Mason’s 2017 Global Investment Survey, its fifth annual survey of investor attitudes and sentiment which assessed the views of 15,300 individuals around the world, UK millennials are increasingly turning to the latest technology when it comes to their savings and investments.

Nicknamed “Generation App”, millennials’ use of technology is far greater than previous generations, such as the baby boomers, with 93% using their mobile phones to access the internet. This compares with just over half of baby boomers (52) who have yet to embrace smartphones to the same degree, with many instead relying more on home PCs to access the internet.

The proliferation of smartphone use among millennials in the UK means new methods of engagement with financial services have increased in popularity, with 46% of UK millennials keen to use their smartphones to do all their financial planning – the highest in Europe.

In contrast, just 13% of baby-boomers would feel comfortable with such an approach. This is mirrored globally, with 47% of millennials keen to do all their planning on their mobiles, versus just 22% of baby-boomers.

The trend poses a challenge for financial advisers who have traditionally delivered their services face-to-face.

Justin Eede, head of Europe and Americas Distribution at Legg Mason, said: “Millennials are increasingly tech-savvy and this is seeping into every element of their lives, including the way they approach even complex financial needs.

“Services that have traditionally always been delivered face-to-face are now becoming automated, and the use of smartphones for financial planning is another step in that direction. Indeed these statistics reveal the extent to which the demand for fully digital solutions is growing among the younger generation and it will be interesting to see how financial services businesses respond to the challenges this presents.”

Nonetheless, while the desire is there among some segments of the UK to adopt a digital approach to financial planning, only 16% said they were in favour of either technology-only financial planning which has no human interaction, or a proposition that is technology-led but has some human interaction supporting it.

While slightly ahead of the European average of 15% who felt the same, the survey indicated that a quasi-solution which offers the option to either speak with an adviser or at least communicate in some way with one remains the most popular solution.

Indeed, while 28% of all UK respondents want to do all their planning via their smartphone, 45% said they do not.

This is the reverse of the situation in Asia, where 47 were in favour of this approach and just 15% were not, while in the US the split was more equal, with 42% for using their smartphone as the sole means of financial planning, and 39% against it.

Legg Mason’s Global Investment Survey is a quantitative study of 15,300 respondents from 17 markets around the globe, encompassing investors in the US, UK, Europe, Asia and Latin America, as well as Australia.

A number of age ranges are included within the study, including millennials (aged 18-35), generation X (aged 36-52) and baby boomers (aged 53-71).

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