Investors Turn to Research Reports for Online Advice

January 8, 2004 ( - Most investors receiving financial advice online are turning to analysts' research reports and online portfolio tool recommendations.

Nearly seven out of 10 (68%) wealthy investors polled by Forrester Research who have read analysts’ reports online consider this to be financial advice. This was followed by 64% of the group that see online portfolio tools’ recommendations as advice.

Overall, Forrester found 64% of wealthy consumers have received financial advice. With a guiding hand, it may not come as a surprise that this group were twice as likely as the unadvised to consider the six activities asked about by the research to be advice. Including analyst’s research reports and online portfolio tool’s recommendations, the other advice components researched were:

  • financial advisers’ recommendations
  • adviser-created financial plan
  • financial news
  • message boards.

In fact, those that were unadvised were 50% more likely not to consider any of the activities to be advice.

Financial news was the third most likely source for online advice for more than half of the sample (59%). Adviser-created financial plans (53%), financial adviser recommendations (52%) and message boards (45%) rounded out the list of advice channels for those investors that have received Internet-based advice.

For those that have not received advice, 31% see an adviser-created plan as financial advice, followed by:

  • 27% – financial advisers’ recommendations
  • 25% – online portfolio tools’ recommendations
  • 24% – analysts’ reports
  • 20% – financial news
  • 13% – message boards.

Perhaps somewhat surprising is that more participants who have received the advice offline (30%) classify an online portfolio tool’s recommendations as advice than a financial adviser’s recommendations (29%). Yet for those that have not received the advice offline, more people (18%) lean toward a financial adviser’s recommendations than an online portfolio tool’s (16%).

Among those that have received advice offline, most (37%) consider an analyst’s research reports to be actual advice, compared to the least likely, message boards, considered advice by only 17% of the group. Also garnering attention as an advice path were an adviser-created financial plan (33%) and financial news (33%).