LAS VEGAS – Continued misperceptions about wealth management along with the industry’s shifting focus to serve high-net worth clients are attributing to a growing gap in investment services, said Michael Johnson, CUNA Mutual Group vice president of Wealth Management, during a CUNA’s America’s Credit Union Conference breakout session Monday.
Johnson noted credit unions can capitalize on immense opportunities as a shift and transfer of assets occurs in the wealth management industry.
“We’ve seen investment providers in the market shift to a ‘high net worth or not worth it’ business model when it comes to deciding which consumers they will serve,” said Johnson. “This strategy is potentially creating a growing service gap for many credit unions members who are concerned about their long-term financial security and may have limited options for advisory services.”
He added that solving this issue should be very relevant and familiar to credit unions, which have a long-standing tradition of meeting the needs of underserved populations.
“Our mission is to help people achieve financial security. Living comfortably in retirement is the great end-game,” said Johnson. “Members’ investment needs can’t be an afterthought when credit unions consider their holistic member experience and service offerings.”
In addition to discussing the industry shift to high net worth clients, Johnson also provided credit unions with key insights into why many consumers are hesitant to engage in retirement and financial planning all together.
“There’s a great barrier of complexity when it comes to understanding all of the options available in the marketplace, plus consumers understandably fear losing their hard-earned money in the market,” he explained. “Consumers are also concerned with accessibility and wonder who can provide them with the time and expertise to help them meet their unique financial needs.”
Johnson said credit unions have a unique opportunity to break down these barriers and differentiate themselves in the future marketplace by applying traditional credit union values to wealth management, which could drive loyalty with existing members and attract new ones. He also noted that a combined approach of human-based advisory services paired with technology could stand out among a growing market of online and “robo-advisor” solutions.
“Credit unions have an advantage in offering wealth management services because they’ve already done a tremendous job of building trust with members,” Johnson said. “It’s now up to our industry to demonstrate that our member-centric approach to business also translates seamlessly to retirement and financial planning solutions.”
About CUNA Mutual Group:
CUNA Mutual Group helps people plan, protect and invest for their future – regardless of their financial standing. The company was founded more than 80 years ago by credit union leaders who were looking for an insurance partner they could trust. Today, CUNA Mutual Group helps credit unions and hardworking Americans build financial security through commercial and personal insurance products; lending and payment security solutions; and risk management, retirement, investment and marketing services. Additional information about the company can be found at www.cunamutual.com.
CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates. Life, accident, health and annuity insurance products are issued by CMFG Life Insurance Company and MEMBERS Life Insurance Company. Corporate headquarters are located in Madison, Wis.