There are times and places for conversation about religion, politics, and sex. Thanksgiving dinner and the workplace are generally not those.
However, financial advisors might want to consider bringing up one of those taboo subjects with clients.
Half of investors under the age of 50 say it is “extremely or very important that their financial advisor shares their religious values,” effectively the same enthusiasm investors have for sharing values with their children’s teachers (51%) and their doctor (50%), according to a survey of 1,008 investors by Crossmark Global Investments.
Perhaps surprisingly, this notion was strongest with the millennial generation, defined in the survey as those ages 23-34, of which 63% said it was important.
However, even though a meaningful portion of investors want to share their religious values with their advisor, 73% of survey respondents said their advisor had never asked them about the subject. This was especially the case for older investors; 90% of those 50 or older had never discussed it.
"Clearly, investors care deeply about aligning their investments with their values, and they are paying attention to how they are invested. Religious values are at the heart of how many people live their lives, and it is important for advisors to recognize what their clients value,” Michael Kern, the president and CEO of Crossmark, said in a statement about the survey.
The study was self-serving. Houston-based Crossmark Global Investments focuses on “socially-conscious” strategies and manages $5.1 billion for institutional investors and advisors.
Among the 72% of U.S. adults who affiliate with a religion, 65% affiliate with a Christian faith, according to a report by the Pew Research Center. So, there’s a good chance an advisor and their clients will share some version of their religion with their clients. If they don’t, at least an advisor who asks clients or prospects about their religion has a chance to acknowledge its potential importance to them.
For that reason, advisors might be missing out on bringing up religion with clients. As for politics, approach with caution. Sex? Nope.