A man longboarding down a scenic road
 A man longboarding down a scenic road

How can today’s millennial investors drive tomorrow’s business growth?

Wealth managers have an opportunity to build trust with this vital client group, especially during times of increased market instability. 

In brief

  • Millennial wealth management clients are more responsive, mobile and unpredictable than older investors.
  • A sophisticated understanding of individual traits is key to meeting their needs and creating long-term value.
  • Wealth managers can position themselves as trusted advisors by fostering good investment behavior.

The 2023 EY Global Wealth Research Report shines a revealing light on the desires and behaviors of wealth management clients around the world. The research covers more than 2,600 clients spanning continents, age groups and levels of wealth. More often than not, it’s Millennials that stand out from the crowd.

Most obviously, Millennials consistently show a stronger appetite for advice than older clients – reflecting the fact that most of this cohort are still growing their wealth and have a longer path to fulfil their financial goals.

That is just the beginning, however. The findings show that Millennials have many striking tendencies that cannot simply be explained by their shorter duration of investing experience. Some of the most notable are:

  • Increased tendency to switch: Millennials are more than twice as likely (73%) than Boomers (29%) to switch between providers, to move assets between firms or to begin working with new wealth managers. They are also far more likely (49%) than the global average (33%) to have sought independent professional advice in response to external shocks.
  • Higher risk appetite: Millennials are 20% more likely than the average client to invest in alternative investments, 16% more likely than average to contribute to actively managed investments and three times more likely than older cohorts to use digital wallets.
  • Demand for digital: 32% of Millennials see a strong digital offering as important when selecting a wealth management provider, exceeded only by a good track record of performance (34%). Millennials are also more likely (59%) than average (40%) to seek a wealth manager that continuously improves its digital platforms with feature enhancements.
  • Greater interest in ethics and sustainability: When selecting a wealth management provider, Millennials place above-average emphasis on sustainable investment options (20% versus 8% of Boomers) and diverse teams (16% versus 5% of Boomers).

In short, Millennials emerge from the research as one of the most complex, important and demanding groups of clients for wealth managers to understand and serve.


On the upside, Millennials’ need for high quality advice and support over a period of decades presents a huge potential opportunity for wealth managers able to meet their requirements. Set against that, firms are likely to find it increasingly hard to reconcile Millennials’ desire for more and more specialized advice with their tendency to spread assets between providers and their price sensitivity. For example, this cohort is more concerned (66%) than the average client (54%) about hidden costs.


Furthermore, the research shows that long-term success with this group of clients will depend on wealth managers’ ability to build a sophisticated picture of individual investors’ mindsets and behavioral traits.

A closer look at Millennials’ investing behaviors shows that this generation demonstrates a heightened level of sensitivity, coupled with a marked lack of predictability. Millennials appear to react strongly – and inconsistently – to volatility. No fewer than 50% of this generation (compared to 34% of all clients) reacted to recent market shocks by moving capital into savings and deposits. However, volatility also prompted 47% of Millennials to increase their allocations to actively managed investments (compared to 34% of all clients).


This suggests that wealth managers have a crucial role to play in providing younger investors with a steadying hand. Firms not only need to offer advice and guidance, but to actively educate Millennials on topics like goal-setting, risk appetite and diversification.


Fostering investment behaviors that optimize long-term outcomes will be essential, too. This might involve encouraging positive traits – such as the willingness to embrace new products – while tempering less productive impulses like overreacting to market corrections.


The good news for wealth managers is that Millennials are more open than other cohorts to sharing their transactional data, social media profiles and even GPS locations with providers in exchange for greater personalization. Despite their comfort with digital channels, Millennials also value the ability to discuss matters with an advisor – whether virtually or in person.

2023 Global Wealth Research Report

Take a more detailed look at the drivers putting money in motion, together with a range of potential strategic responses.


Millennial wealth management clients stand out for their complex needs, preferences and behaviors. Wealth managers can position themselves as trusted advisors for the long-term by understanding their traits.