Strategies

Ultra-high net-worth clients need big-picture planning

By Leah Golob |

Ultra high-net-worth clients — those with $30 million or more in investable assets — have the resources to hire the best professionals in the business. If you plan on targeting clients in this highly competitive market, you'll need to go above and beyond usual expectations with your service offering, says Wayne Bossert, deputy chairman of RBC Wealth Management in Toronto.

Despite the financial sophistication of these clients, they're looking for simplicity, Bossert says. They want an advisor who can navigate the complexity in their lives.

Specifically, here is what ultra high-net-worth clients want from their advisors:

> Integrity
Ultra high-net-worth clients want to know that they can fully trust their advisor.

"If they don't have that trust," Bossert says, "then the technical expertise is nowhere near as valuable to them."

You can demonstrate your integrity by actively listening, providing unbiased, objective advice, and referring, when necessary, to a more specialized advisor, Bossert says.

> Big-picture planning
Ultra high-net-worth clients want their advisors to have a robust professional network in place to quickly solve any problems that arise. "They're expecting their advisor to be the glue that holds everything together," Bossert says.

"Typically, the ultra high-net-worth client can afford to bring the very best tax advisor and the very best legal advisor into the relationship," Bossert says. "What they don't necessarily have is somebody who is thinking broadly and holistically, and can speak the language of these specialists."

For example, a client might not know that his or her business's tax specialist isn't the best person to manage their personal wealth, Bossert says. They should have an advisor who can understand the big picture.

> Planning for the next generation
Wealthy clients often stay up at night worrying about their children's future, Bossert says. Because families seldom disclose hard facts about their finances to their children, those children often are unaware of how much wealth they will inherit.

These clients want their children to learn to become responsible stewards of wealth, Bossert says. Ultra high-net-worth advisors should be able to facilitate conversations regarding the wealth transfer and help alleviate the stress that often comes with this topic.

> Legacy building
After protecting their family's wealth, ultra high-net-worth clients often start to think about strategic philanthropy.

"Once someone has accumulated a significant amount of wealth," Bossert says, "they start to think about their impact on the community."

Many of these clients will want to create charitable legacies, such as a foundation, Bossert says, and will be looking to their advisor for guidance.