sample financial research

Financial Market Research Examples

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Defined Contribution Advisor Journey Mapping

Client: A major financial services and insurance provider

Methodology: 22 In-depth telephone interviews with top-tier defined contribution financial advisors. Advisors were among the top in the country in terms of selling 401(k) and 403(b) plans.

Objectives: The primary objective of this research was to explore and map the advisor journey in terms of quoting and placing 401(k) plans. Specific objectives included:

  • Identify issues related to the customer experience including winning experiences/delighters and pain points or disruptors
  • Explore best practices among providers and identify the gold standard of servicing for 401k accounts
  • Understand gaps in provider servicing where advisors need additional solutions

Results: The client was able to take the findings of the research and subsequent brainstorming workshop to generate multiple ideas and application to improve the advisor journey and make the advisor’s job easier.

 

Retirement Plan Participant Exploration

Client: A major financial services and insurance provider

Methodology: 25 In-depth telephone interviews (15 with customers and 10 with non-customers) followed by a quantitative online survey with 500+ 401(k) plan participants.

Objectives: The objectives of this research were to:

  • Explore plan participant expectations and experiences including the impact of having a retail account on the perceptions of the 401(k) plan provider
  • Understand what drives engagement in and satisfaction with a 401(k) provider, including education, tools, and technology
  • Test several potential new concepts and offerings

Results: The client was able to prioritize the areas of primary importance to plan participants and formulate and test several specific new offerings that could potentially increase engagement and satisfaction.

 

Advisor Tools and Solutions Assessment

Client: A major investment company

Methodology: An online survey of just under 3,000 financial advisors who work for a specific investment firm.

Objectives:

  • Understand and trend Advisor overall satisfaction, brand favorability, and loyalty intentions
  • Evaluate usage, importance and satisfaction with the solutions and tools available to the Advisors, including:
  • General products and solutions
  • Credit and banking solutions
  • Tools and functionalities

Results: The client was able to understand what offerings were most used and valued and to diagnose areas where tools and solutions were lacking, caused problems or challenges for Advisors, or were being underutilized.

 

Investor Tools Assessment

Client: A major investment company

Methodology: In-depth phone interviews with consumers with retail investment accounts

Objectives:

The primary objective of the research was to evaluate two specific investor tools offered by the client to investors – an investment-mindset assessment and a financial consolidation portal. Specific objectives include:

  • Identify initial and ongoing reasons for using the tools
  • Explore the content and functionality in each of the tools
  • Understand how the advisor communicated about the tools and how the tools were used in conjunction with the advisor

Results: The client was able to identify the aspects of the tools with the most value as well as to target areas for improving the functionality of the tools as well as potential ways to increase utilization and value.

 

Consumer/Advisor VA Concept/Materials Test

Client: A major insurance and financial services company

Methodology: In-depth phone interviews and webcam focus groups with both advisors and consumers. Respondents included advisors/consumers who have sold/bought a particular VA product and well as those who have not.

Objectives:

The primary objective of the research was to assess reaction to a specific VA product and test a number of collateral materials, including a video and a brochure. Specific objectives include:

  • Explore usage and perceptions of annuities
  • Map the purchase/sales process for annuities
  • Evaluate a specific VA product, including likes/dislikes, areas of confusion, and differentiators
  • Measure reaction to a series of collateral pieces designed to market the VA product (video, brochure, one-pager)

Results: The client was able to identify the perceived differentiators for their VA offerings as well as potential challenges for advisors in selling the product and for consumers in understanding the product.

 

VA Optimization Study

Client: A major insurance and financial services company

Methodology: Online quantitative study with 600 financial advisors, including a complex discrete choice exercise.

Objectives:

The primary objective of the research was to optimize a new VA offering by identifying the most important features and levels among attributes including contract type, investment options and asset classes, living benefits, accumulation options, death benefits, and fees. Specific objectives include:

  • Understand the relative importance of features and levels, including the trade-off between features and levels
  • Create a simulator that allows the client to build the idea product and to understand impact on uptake when features and levels were added or removed
  • Compare the potential offering to existing competitor products
  • Measure the impact of brand on the product offering

Results: The client was able to build the ideal VA offering and understand where and how it would perform within the existing competitive set.

 

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