In 2005, Prince & Associates conducted a comprehensive survey in the U.S. to find out what high net worth clients really think about their financial advisors. The survey found that 53% of wealthy clients (versus only 12% of advisors) really want to learn about customized portfolios and private money management. 38% of clients also want to learn about managed accounts yet only 18% of responding advisors rated that as a high priority. As a result of this disconnect, affluent clients often regard traditional advisors as salespeople with vested interests who push the product of the day. In fact, nearly 60% of clients surveyed said they used two or more advisors and an overwhelming 80% say they are still seeking a true wealth manager.
As the data below illustrates, high net worth client priorities are much different than you would normally expect. The data clearly shows that high net worth clients value the relationship, ahead of the characteristics of a third party product:
- 95% – Confidentiality
- 90% – Reputation
- 87% – Quality of Presentation
- 72% – Range of Services
- 34% – Cost of Services
- 26% – Innovativeness
- 22% – Investment Performance
- 20% – Firm Size
High net worth clients are seeking long term relationships versus a salesperson gathering assets with an eye to short term sales transactions. They want someone who is offering value not just by implementing investment strategies but also executing four levels of service which include diagnosing the client’s financial situation, planning a unique approach, implementing the plan and following up by monitoring performance.