How to attract high-net-worth clients

May 3, 2018 @ 12:01 am

By Tom Burmeister, director of financial planning at Advicent

In a financial advisor's perfect world, their book of business would contain many high-net-worth (HNW) clients. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. While it sounds ideal to have a book full of HNW clients, attracting and retaining them is an industry-wide struggle, as there is a competitive market for their business.

As the financial services landscape only grows more competitive, how can advisors ensure they are obtaining the largest share of wallet possible from their most affluent clients?

For advisors looking to attract HNW clients, it is vital that they have a plan set in place instead of hoping for them to walk through the door. One of the most important things an advisor can do to attain HNW clients is to differentiate themselves from their competition while delivering their value proposition to those potential clients and piquing their interest for a meeting.

Understanding their needs

Getting those clients intrigued is the first step in obtaining a HNW client, but the value you provide with your services is the next step to deliver what you sold them.

Once you realize that HNW clients have more complex needs than the normal mass affluent client, you have to provide these different levels of services for them. While it may not be standard at your firm, being able to customize your service offerings is key when trying to meet HNW client needs.

Although financial plans for HNW clients introduce additional complexities, it is also important to realize the extent to which HNW clients value their time. This will help tailor your onboarding and data gathering processes to facilitate a smooth and efficient transition into your firm.

Advanced planning services

Providing advanced planning services for businesses, estates, and tax situations will appeal to HNW clients. For advisors, this means not only addressing the advanced planning topics that are top of mind for the client but also proactively identifying additional planning needs or strategies that the client should be considering.

By leveraging a streamlined process and robust financial planning tool, you are able to show multiple outcomes in very few key strokes. This is the differentiating factor that HNW clients are seeking when selecting an advisor. For example, tax planning discussions should always illustrate projections with and without the sunset provisions of the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Generational wealth transfer

How can you ensure that your firm can retain its most valuable AUM segments across generations? While having a streamlined process in place is a major step in obtaining HNW clients, one of the biggest components of financial planning these clients want to focus on is legacy planning. This may be the biggest concern of HNW clients, as they are not only concerned with establishing an inheritance plan but also want to ensure that their heirs receive everything they need to manage the estate left to them.

According to the 2017 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth study, while nearly two-thirds of wealth parents think it is important to leave an inheritance for their children, only 42 percent of parents feel very confident that their children can manage the money responsibly.

Providing estate planning for your HNW clients can ensure that your firm retains the future generations of investors after pockets of your AUM have passed down to the next generation of investors. Estate planning services also provide an appropriate avenue to foster new relationships with younger advisors even before wealth transfer takes place.

This is where as an advisor you are able to differentiate yourself from your competition by providing a digital experience through a robust financial planning tool. By having a comprehensive financial planning tool in place, you can reassure your HNW clients that their heirs are in safe hands through the estate planning and trust services you offer.

Digital experience

Across all generations and regardless of net worth, everyone is moving toward digital. For example, the 2017 Capgemini World Wealth Report found that 56.2 percent of HNW investors globally say they would be open to working with BigTechs for their wealth management needs.

The study also states, “HNWIs have high expectations of increased efficiency, transparency, online excellence, and innovation with BigTechs, but express some trepidation about privacy, security, and the lack of human involvement.”

By not only providing the value of your personal expertise but also a digital financial planning experience, you are able to assure your HNW clients that you are an advisor that can be a resource to both them and their heirs. Once the heirs take over the estate, you will be able to provide them with the digital experience that they prefer, and this will set you apart from your competition.

After you explain this added value to HNW clients, it is a good idea to encourage them to include their children in the planning process. This enables you to begin building a relationship with this next generation and demonstrate the digital experience they would have.

To learn more about how to attract, serve, and retain HNW clients, click here.


What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Upcoming Event

May 14


Retirement Income Summit

Join InvestmentNews at the 12th annual Retirement Income Summit - the industry's premier retirement planning conference.Much has changed - and much remains to be learned. Attend and discuss how the future is full of opportunity for ... Learn more

Featured video


Where in the U.S. are RIAs growing the fastest?

InvestmentNews' deputy editor Robert Hordt talks to senior columnist Jeff Benjamin about his report on how registered investment advisers are faring in different regions of the country.

Latest news & opinion

Midwestern magic? RIA assets soared nearly 30% there last year

Theories for what's driving the growth spurt abound, but it surpassed all other regions of the country.

8 apps advisers love for getting stuff done

We reached out to advisers to find out which apps they are using to run their business more efficiently.

10 tax moves to squeeze in before the year ends

Here are some tax moves clients can still make before year-end.

Richard Neal: the new face driving retirement policy in Washington

As he becomes head of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) is poised to make some big changes.


Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.


Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print