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Dec 21, 2009 3:00 pm

We have several clients that are close to the 1mm mark in AUM with us.

What if anything does others do to show their appreciation to clients that consolidate their advisors and transfer all their assets to one advisor, namely us?   Do you provide a membership to a "top shelf" club if clients reach a certain AUM?   What benefits can be provided legally to these type clients? Perks? Rewards?    
Dec 22, 2009 3:48 am

Great thread. 

We’re still working on it at my 2 person team.  We’re starting out 2010 by increasing some of our attention for our top clients.  We’ve finally got enough of a base to be able to begin shifting our focus.  The best clients (27 right now I believe) will receive articles of interest on months that our quarterly newsletter does not go out, at least a quarterly phone call, and a twice per year review at minimum review with dinner out if they’d like.  Obviously it’s a work in progress but the point is we’re working on putting together a written gameplan rather than just winging it and hoping we touch them enough.

I remember someone saying telling me onetime that we should touch our top clients 20some times per year.

I’d love to hear what other people are doing.

Dec 22, 2009 4:28 am

Thats fine to treat higher assets accounts with special services but assets alone is not a good way to classify "top shelf" clients.  Mind you I only have commission based accounts but some of my biggest AUM clients are far from my better revenue clients over the years.  I consider my "top shelf" clients as those that generate an good source of revenue, are pleasant to deal with, and truly respect my advice.

  I'm probably a bit different in my practice than most.  I don't send bday or holiday cards.  I don't send newsletters out.   i don't spend money on trinkets to hand out at meetings or expos.   I personally think the only thing clients want is honest, friendly, genuine advice and ongoing contact or updates.  most of my top clients I talk to probably every monoth or two for some reason or another. And I can sleep pretty confidently that my top clients are happy and are not going to leave me because their friend got a fridge calander from their advisor.
Dec 22, 2009 5:01 am

Baldy, thanks for the opposing view...

Your practice would definitely define "Top Shelf" clients differently. In our practice the majority of the revenue is generated through fee based advice. We use the service, these Top Shelf clients pay for, to subsidize most of the services the remainder of our clients receive. The rule of 80/20 in fee based states the 80% of the revenue is generated by 20% of the clients. Our practice is more like 90/10 and our Top Shelf clients know it. Why not reward them with some additional perks or concierge services.<?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Unlike the IRS, we would like to show our thanks for these clients making it possible for the rest of our clients to obtain financial advice. I am sure other practices operate in a similar manner. Call it greed or whatever, but we refuse to fire a client just because his account grows too slow. But to be able to service these clients we need "Top Shelf" clients.

Dec 22, 2009 6:08 am
4 tickets to an extra-special, exclusive dinner / boat ride / event / etc once a year.  Creating actual tickets might increase the odds they’ll bring a referral.  If it’s a big enough event, consider hiring a photographer and send everyone a album/DVD of the snaps afterwards.   Or, a cheap but good one...    2) There's a new Google phone number forwarding service.  It allows you to create a phone number, and you can specify that it makes multiple lines call when someone dials it.  Only give this "bat phone" number to your very best clients; the idea being when they call, all your major numbers ring.  Promise someone will always answer...or at least return the call within an hour.  It's quite the commitment on your behalf - and your family may hate you for it - but clients will appreciate it, and will most likely be respectful about using it.   P.S. to that.  You may already have some call forwarding service through your cell provider or work phone.  I only said Google because that's all I know.  I don't know how this fits in with compliance...but, seeing as they'lll let you share a cell number, I can't see it being an issue.  Probably.  
Dec 23, 2009 4:08 am


Or, a cheap but good one... 2) There's a new Google phone number forwarding service. It allows you to create a phone number, and you can specify that it makes multiple lines call when someone dials it. Only give this "bat phone" number to your very best clients; the idea being when they call, all your major numbers ring. Promise someone will always answer...or at least return the call within an hour. It's quite the commitment on your behalf - and your family may hate you for it - but clients will appreciate it, and will most likely be respectful about using it.


I love this one. =)

Obviously you want to give them perks.... but I pretty much give all my clients, with the exception of bottom tier in assets/revenue/potential at least a weekly touch. And all of my clients do get a bi-weekly email/update. Not that hard to do.

I would tend to stay away from the word "biggest", and would word is a "loyal", valued, etc.

If I was a client, and I found out I was your biggest client.... I would be cautious. the only difference between someone with a $1,000,000 in assets and $100,000 is a 0. People with a million still worry about the same thing as people with $250k.

Lastly, is a client with $500k with you deserve more attention than another client who gives you referrals and is an advocate for your business but has only $50k with you in a roth ira and has $1,000,000 in a 401k at work?

Those are all things you have to look at. Why not just try to provide a "WOW" experience to all your clients.

Your clients want to know 3 things.

1. Do I trust you?

2. Does he seem to know what he is talking about?

3. Does he truly care about me, my worries and my family?

Going from my ameriprise office, with an average client size of like $65k, to my UBS office, where our average client was $600k or so, you would figure lots of things are different. Those three things are still the key.

And to agree with the other poster. I had some 1mil dollar accounts that generated less business than $250k accounts, (stocks that were held long term vs 250k fee based, plus insurance and lending, and they provided referrals.)

So do those 3 things... and remember, your biggest clients, unless they are north of 15 to 20 mil, dont want to be your guinea pig, or your biggest.

I send mine a book or two towards the end of the year, and they typically have my cell phone number.