This story was originally published by Investopedia.
Advisors are spending more of their time on their wealthiest clients, which has led to significant downsizing of client rosters across the country.
The upshot is that advisors are productive and give more personal attention to each of their clients. But, is it a change that every financial planner should consider?
If you charge a fee based on assets under management, it is most likely in your best interest to focus on high-net-worth clients that have the most funds to invest.
ATTRACTING THE WEALTHY
How do you attract wealthy clients in the first place? Advisors looking for HNW investors could relocate to wealthy communities, says finance writer and Investopedia contributor Will Lipovsky. You can’t expect people to come to you if there are other options closer to them.
“Financial advisors should live in communities overflowing with money,” says Lipovsky. “If you want to serve the wealthy, go to the wealthy.” (For more, see: High-Net-Worth Client Tips for Financial Advisors.)
Another option is narrowing your prospect search to really focus on the kind of client you’ll be best at attracting. If you have a history of working well with entrepreneurs, financial executives or lawyers, use your specific experience to attract those types of people.
Natalie Bacon, a financial advisor with Summit Financial Strategies which manages several wealthy clients, recommends changing your fee structure. If you currently charge commission for each product sold, consider becoming a fee-only planner, she says.
“Wealthy clients seek planners who charge a fee based on assets under management, not based on commissions,” Bacon says.
There are benefits for both advisors and clients in the fee-only model, and the public perception is that fee-only planners provide more value at a better price. (For more, see: Finding and Retaining High Net Worth Clients.)
KEEPING THE WEALTHY CLIENTS
Once you have your wealthy clients, you have to retain them. Even though advisor turnover is generally low, you don’t want to get complacent. Continue to treat them as if you were in the courting process, because at any given time they could be wooed by another advisor.
HNW people get wealthy by savvy, shrewd financial decision making. They will drop you at a moment’s notice if they feel your services aren't making the grade. Respect that commitment to financial growth, and challenge yourself to continually satisfy and impress your clients. (For more, see: A Look at How the Ultra-Wealthy Invest.)
CREATING THE WEALTH
Being able to create wealth in a client’s portfolio is extremely important. To do this, advisors should focus on creating strong wealth creation strategies.
“A properly aligned investment philosophy involves a three-dimensional portfolio that seeks to achieve three objectives: wealth preservation, liquidity and wealth creation,” says Bill Militello, CEO of Militello Capital. “Most advisors are only satisfying two of these objectives — wealth preservation and liquidity — because they generally constrain the asset allocation debate to only stocks and bonds.”
If you can provide nuanced strategies on wealth creation, current and prospective clients will see the benefits. Value creation will differentiate your firm from others catering to wealthy clients. Most advisors can offer ideas about preserving their assets and how to structure their portfolio, according to Militello, but an advisor who can provide ideas on wealth creating is invaluable. (For more, see: Advisors: Don't Overlook Not-Yet-Rich Millennials.)
THE BOTTOM LINE
There’s a hefty crop of wealthy investors out there, and many financial advisors who are eager to add them to their roster. Figure out what unique services your firm can offer these potential clients and demonstrate that those ideas work. What will set you apart? (For more, see: Global Wealth is Up and Continues to Rise.)