A surprise figure is that a full quarter of ultra high net worth clients don’t even use a financial advisor. They think they can do a better job themselves.
Spectrem president George Walper says the do-it-yourself attitude goes across the board, even down to the $100,000 level.
The wealthy end expects steady improvement in performance. So offering the same services you did last year won’t cut it with them.
Of those, 63% are retired and another 13% are semi-retired. They are affected most by economic conditions. They want assurance they can maintain the lifestyle they want throughout their retirement.
A recent Cerulli report says the mass affluent ($100K - $500K) represent a sweet spot for advisors.
Of those in their 50s, 41% say they have just not gotten around to working with an advisor.
That means they’re open to doing so. Those in their 60s think they don’t need retirement advice.
For the wealthy ($5 mm - $25 mm), dissatisfaction comes from advisors’ weak understanding of their goals. They want advisors to understand their needs, their family’s needs, and where they are going.
They are unhappy with the quality of face-to-face meetings, financial plans, and advisor newsletters. Only 22% - 28% of advisor newsletters got favorable rankings.
If you want to attract the wealthy, you need to up your game and get into the warmer side of investment management.
If you want to jump on the mass affluent sweet spot, you need to educate them about the need for retirement income planning and develop a closer relationship with asset managers who offer such products.
Better yet, you could take a team approach and address both markets. That’s called tiered levels of service. The mass affluent levels can be set up on a pretty turnkey basis with some special attention thrown in now and then.
You can have one partner on your team who specializes in working with those folks and one staff member to support them. They need guidance and they are the low hanging fruit.
That leaves more time to spend addressing the warm issues with the wealthy. They have bigger assets. And once you earn their loyalty—the way they want you to earn it—they’ll send you their friends.
Because advisors willing to authentically go that mile are in short supply. The dissatisfaction numbers prove it.

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