U.S. Retail Investor Products and Platforms 2020

Optimizing Platform Opportunity

Drive Reach. Foster Engagement.

  • Learn how financial advice provider firms can optimize their strategies in designing and addressing retail investment platforms
  • Understand retail investors’ preferences with regard to direct investing platforms and the products they wish to use on them
  • Analyze annually updated investor market sizing, with age and wealth tier segmentations
  • Explore proprietary sizing of direct-to-investor platforms, including an updated leaderboard and underlying product sizing
  • Gain insight into the value of brands in investors’ decision making


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Report Retail Investor Products Detail

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Drew O'Hearn, CFP

Drew O'Hearn, CFP

Director, Account Management


This report serves as Cerulli’s guidebook to optimizing firms’ strategies to designing and addressing retail investment platforms. It helps firms better understand retail investors’ preferences with regard to direct investing platforms and the products they wish to use on them.

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Each report is lead authored by a senior Cerulli analyst with significant industry experience. The report incorporates qualitative and quantitative inputs, based on Cerulli’s proprietary research process. For more on our research process, click here.

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A Note from the Author

The Right Tech, the Wrong Time in the Client Experience? Or, the Wrong Tech at the Right Time in the Client Experience?

Scott Smith

Scott Smith


Bio →

Scott Smith

Scott Smith


With more than 20 years of financial services industry experience, Scott leads Cerulli’s research efforts focused on investor behavior and advisory relationships. In his time at Cerulli, he has authored more than two dozen in-depth reports on topics ranging from wholesale distribution to digital advice platforms. His research helps Cerulli’s clients understand how to optimize their platforms given the evolving demand for financial advice.

Scott started his career wearing a headset at Putnam Investments’ service center in 1996, before moving to more strategic roles at MFS Investment Management starting in 2000, and then to Cerulli in 2007. In addition, he currently serves as member of the CFP Board’s Digital Advice Working Group, and as a judge for the Industry Awards.

Full biography here.

Optimizing technology along the right inflection points of the client journey will help providers scale solutions. In a period marked by ongoing volatility and uncertainty, it has never been more important for financial services providers to use their technology platforms to strengthen their client relationships. However, this does not usually translate into an increased fully self-directed engagement. Making a task easier with additional technology does not differentiate a product if consumers are not interested in taking on a responsibility in the first place.

The more important evolution in this space is the growth in complexity of individual clients’ financial lives and maintaining path-of-least-resistance access at key inflection points. For financial providers, this means having the optimal products available to key prospects as they recognize their need for additional solutions. By offering robust platforms with customization options at each key inflection point, firms can balance their need for scalable solutions with clients’ preference for personalized advice. Our latest report, U.S. Retail Investor Products and Platforms 2020, analyzes the challenges retail investor platforms face and offers solutions for how to optimize their addressable markets.

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