High net worth services are more than an opportunity to boost your business. They can also strengthen your trusted relationships with clients as a value-added feature. Carine Monge, Sun Life Global Investments’ (SLGI) Director, Private Client, for Quebec and Atlantic Canada, takes a fresh look at this program and identifies some key changes to help ensure your client relationships continue well into the future.

A number of demographic factors are increasing the appeal of high net worth services, including the wave of baby boomers currently heading toward retirement. Many of them are increasing their savings in anticipation of retirement, while others have already reached the asset drawdown phase.

Intergenerational wealth transfer is also helping drive this type of service. In his Globe and Mail article about Overcoming the stress of investing an inheritance, journalist John Heinzl highlights a trend from 2000 to 2010 where Canadian baby boomers inherited a tremendous amount of money — to the tune of about $550 billion.

High net worth services: responding to market trends

Two trends are converging when it comes to high net worth services. “First, clients want to consolidate all their holdings within one institution or one advisor to ensure efficient management of their wealth and also get the benefit of lower management fees,” Monge says. With high net worth services, asset consolidation doesn’t begin and end with just one individual. Clients can also link a master account to other accounts for family members — as well as to their business accounts — to achieve more substantial fee savings and provide a bigger picture of the family’s holdings. All family members can enjoy a fee reduction, as it’s applied based on the aggregated assets of all accounts in the family group.

Secondly, affluent clients want a higher quality and more robust level of service. One of the ways high net worth services can meet that need is by helping clients stay on track to meet their investment goals. This can be done through automatic rebalancing of the asset allocation in their accounts within the account holder’s risk tolerance parameters. And under certain conditions, clients can receive financial and tax planning services plus personalized commentary on their holdings.

High net worth services go beyond mere transactions and management fee reductions. They’re a gateway to a more comprehensive service offering for portfolio management. High net worth services provide an avenue for investors and their families to effectively manage their assets. SLGI’s Private Client program is a good example. It makes it easy to combine household assets by having low minimum account values and no minimum fund restrictions. And now it’s expanded to include Sun Life Guaranteed Investment Funds (GIFs).

Tips for setting yourself apart

To stand out in the world of high net worth services, you’ll probably have to make a change to your business development process. The goal is to grow your clientele. And, most of the time, a seven-figure portfolio isn’t required to get in on this service offering. In many cases, investors with a minimum of $100,000 can qualify for some of the benefits of high net worth services, including the management fee reduction. “So, it’s the type of client, much more than the initial portfolio size, that you should consider when you’re analyzing your target market,” Monge emphasizes.

As an advisor and financial planner for more than 15 years, Monge says advisors need to look beyond the portfolio size when it comes to business development. It’s the client’s potential that should be the decisive factor. Young professionals like doctors and lawyers often finish school with a lot of debt, but income is high even early in their careers. “Their savings efforts should be guided by an advisor right from the start,” she explains. “New entrepreneurs are another attractive market,” Monge suggests. The portfolio for this type of client is likely to beef up quickly by retirement time.

The client’s immediate family is another market that deserves closer attention. Very often, the professional relationship between an advisor and a couple involves only the main client, and the spouse isn’t routinely brought into the mix. At death or divorce the spouse will, in many cases, decide to stop doing business with the couple’s current advisor, even though he or she could keep the existing connection going and take advantage of the high net worth services. It’s also a good idea to build a relationship with your clients’ potential heirs: their children. “It’s important the children be prepared for what’s coming and that both sides — parents and children — have good communication with advisors,” summarizes Monge. These are opportunities for you to develop potential markets.

And finally, it’s a good idea for you to ask clients if you may contact the other professionals with whom they do business. If your client agrees, you can work with their accountant, tax specialist and lawyer to help provide an overall view of the client’s financial picture. This will give you a chance to suggest financial solutions that might not have been presented before. “It’s also an excellent opportunity to develop a network of contacts you’ll need to build a practice that serves affluent clients,” adds Monge.

To learn more about the services provided by Private Client from Sun Life Global Investments, connect with your Sun Life Wealth Sales team.

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