The Trends That Will Shape the Advisory Profession in 2023

I’m looking over my previous “trends” article, published at this time a year ago, and some of my ”fearless predictions” (I always make predictions fearfully) were outlandish then but now seem ordinary.

That means I did something right.

I predicted that the emergency measures adopted during COVID would become mainstream. The most important of those are virtual meetings with clients and remote work for staff. Clients, I said, would grow accustomed to the idea that they could meet with advisors without having to drive through traffic to their offices, and remote, face-to-screen client relationships would become the default rather than the temporary exception. And once that happened, staff members would resist coming back into the office every day. As a result, advisory firms would begin recruiting staff in remote locations, holding staff meetings via Zoom or some other remote technology, and client meetings would involve advisors and associates patched into the same calls.

I predicted an embryonic trend of hyper-niche marketing would start to become mainstream; instead of advisory firms marketing exclusively in their local communities, they would market to very specific target clients anywhere in the country. That would not only make advisors more attractive to specific segments, but it would mean that they could offer deeper levels of service custom-tailored to the challenges faced by that group of clients.

My 2022 predictions article suggested that many professional conferences would be live-streamed to remote attendees in an add-on to the in-person audience, and some exhibitors would forego the in-person booth experience altogether, preferring to host webinars instead.

Finally, I suggested that 2022 would be the peak of private equity investments in advisory firms, but if the markets experienced a decline, that money would dry up. In a bear market, advisory firms are not the cash cows that PE investors expected or needed.

At the end, I predicted that the sun would continue to rise in the morning and set in the evening, that the markets would go up and down and up and down again in unpredictable ways, and that there would be important events taking place in the coming year that none of us could foresee. I’m happy to report that this last set of predictions proved to be remarkably accurate.

With my fearless spirit, here is what to expect in 2023.