High-net-worth individuals may have a lot of capital to put to work, but they tend to be much pickier than the average client. According to a 2014 Spectrem Group survey, nearly two-thirds of clients with a net worth of between $5 million and $25 million would change their financial advisor if they do not get phone calls returned in a timely manner and more than half feel the same way about e-mail.
Despite the greater difficulty associated with them, financial advisors would be wise to find ways to attract and retain wealthy clients. A separate research report from PriceMetrix found that small clients with less than $250,000 in assets slow an advisor’s growth rate and impede their ability to attract wealthy households. Even worse, smaller households are significantly less likely to stay with the advisor. (For related reading, see: Six Things Bad Financial Advisors Do.)
So, what can financial advisors do to attract and retain wealthy clients?
Financial advisors should find an optimal balance between low and high prices in order to attract and retain wealthy clients. When prices are too low, clients perceive the value of the services to be lower and may be unwilling to commit. On the other hand, high prices create higher expectations that can be difficult to meet. (For more, see: How to Be a Top Financial Advisor.)
The key is demonstrating that you’re providing the greatest value — not the cheapest price. For example, a financial advisor may decide to focus on a specific niche within the market and command a premium by advertising their expertise. The service may not be as cheap as others, but for the expertise, it may be worth the money.
Work With Them
Wealthy clients tend to demand greater control over their assets than non-wealthy clients. In fact, wealthier households tend to keep more money in discretionary accounts than retirement accounts relative to the general population, while also spreading their money across multiple advisors.
These dynamics make it important for financial advisors to remain flexible and provide more sophisticated services. For example, wealthier investors may not be interested in the same bland mutual funds that they can find anywhere, but instead, creative asset classes that help them diversify risk.
Keep Good Company
Financial advisors that focus on wealthier accounts tend to be better at attracting additional wealthy clients. If advisors take on every client in sight to bring in extra money, the perception is that there’s less time to service wealthier clients that demand the increased attention. (For more, see: Financial Advisors are Feeling Cyber-insecure.)
Financial advisors can avoid these problems by becoming more selective with the accounts they take on as clients. Instead of taking on any clients, advisors could decide whether they want to target the lower income brackets or wealthier clients and then commit themselves to either option.
The Bottom Line
High-net-worth individuals are highly desirable clients for financial advisors, since they tend to stick around longer and generate higher fee income. With many wealthy clients unsatisfied with their advisors, there’s a large potential market for attracting these clients and building their business over time. The key is ensuring that you offer a great value, are flexible with them, and keep good company. (For more, see: Growth Strategies for Financial Advisors.)