Reframing retirement and rethinking client advisor relationship

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Group of Senior Retirement Friends Happiness Concept


For a leading Canadian insurance and investment institution, we explored the journey to retirement to rethink the client advisor relationship and to develop innovative digital products that really resonate.

Mature woman is purchasing online at home - using mobile phone and tablet - while sitting in yellow window, wearing yellow shirt, with a plate of pastry and coffee mug


As a result, our recommendations helped the client identify an existing internal initiative – an AI-based digital coach – as an opportunity to action our insights.


As part of this study, we:

  • Leveraged applied ethnography and psychoanalytics to deeply understand what successful retirement ‘looks like’;
  • Explored the creation of meaningful rituals in financial planning, leveraged the concept of para-social relationships to understand advisor-client interaction, and identified a cultural shift in what Canadians need and desire in retirement;
  • Identified occasions, motivations, transition triggers, and barriers to help build strategic interventions along this planning for retirement journey;
  • Uncovered through discourse analysis what Canadians view as an “excellent” experience with a human advisor and the qualities of “smart” advisor and / or financial tool – to develop a set of design principles to consider when building a digital tool that would serve as a surrogate for what Canadians value in an experience;
  • And, produced a 15-minute video to present findings to effectively build empathy among the client team.

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