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How to Attract and Retain High Net Worth Clients

Differentiate yourself by customizing your services and focusing on holistic family planning, not just investments.

High net worth investors are a “sweet spot” for financial advisors. They have substantial wealth to invest and they require holistic financial support, as opposed to routine investment selection alone. While building a roster full of high net worth clients is certainly ideal, attracting and retaining this demographic is a competitive endeavor. It’s critical that advisors looking to tap into the high net worth market differentiate themselves from their peers, and articulate their unique value proposition to potential clients. 

Customization is Key

One way advisors can stand out from the pack is by customizing their service offerings to meet the unique desires of high net worth investors. This group tends to have complex needs, require frequent contact and, in general, expect more value out of their advisor than the average investor. As a result, advisors need to expand beyond the so-called “first-tier” services to offer more involved second- and third-tier services, such as credit and lending advice, business advice, estate planning and custom portfolio creation. These types of custom services are what high net worth clients require and expect. 

For example, while the average investor typically requires straightforward services, more than 50 percent of high net worth clients currently use or are interested in adding non-traditional assets to their portfolios, according to a U.S. Trust 2015 Study of High Net Worth Investors. This type of unique investment may include private equity, venture funds, tangible investments like real estate and timber, or social impact investments. This desire for non-traditional assets gives the savvy advisor an opportunity to distinguish themselves by providing a pathway for investors to truly customize their portfolios.  

Focus on the Family Legacy

One key consideration when working with high net worth investors is demonstrating a capacity to help with inheritance planning. Given their relatively high net worth, wealthy investors are not only concerned about establishing an inheritance plan – they also want to make sure their heirs receive the resources to effectively manage the estate. In fact, while 75 percent of wealthy parents think it’s important to leave an inheritance for their children, only 20 percent believe that the next generation is equipped to responsibly manage what they receive, the U.S. Trust report stated. As an advisor, you can ease this fear by offering robust estate planning and trust administration services. Better yet, encourage high net worth clients to include their children or grandchildren in the planning process. This not only allows an advisor to start building a trusting relationship with the next generation of clients, but it also increases the chances that the children will continue to invest their parents’ inheritance for the long-term. 

Become a Financial Hub

Finally, in order to retain high net worth clients, an advisor should aim to become a hub for all aspects of the investors’ financial life. While in the past, this demographic preferred maintaining relationships with multiple people for each aspect of their finances, working with various financial advisors, bankers and insurance agents, we’re now seeing a shift toward a streamlined approach. For example, in addition to taking on the role of estate planner, advisors should provide guidance on cash management. By helping clients align their checking accounts, mortgage products and lines of credit with their larger investment goals, advisors can become the central point of contact for investors' overall financial lives. 

High net worth clients are attractive to advisors for a number of reasons. They often require the full-service offering advisors provide, meaning a consistent and strong revenue stream. As a result, developing a strategy to attract these clients is critical. By customizing services and focusing on the unique needs of this demographic, advisors can set themselves apart and increase the number of high net worth clients in their books of business. 


Matt Matrisian is Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at AssetMark, Inc.

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