Reframing retirement and rethinking client advisor relationship

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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.


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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