What high-net-worth clients really want in an advisor

What high-net-worth clients really want in an advisor

What high-net-worth clients really want in an advisor The Canadian Securities Institute’s new report on high net worth clients suggests ample opportunities exist for financial advisors in this much coveted demographic but only if they’re able to bring real skills and expertise to the table.

“It’s a very competitive field,” Marshall Beyer, CSI’s Director of Academic Standards told WP. “You’ve got the three main channels [private wealth management, full-service brokers, and private investment counsel] and even within the same institution within the same bank you’ve got competition between the private banking or private wealth management parts of the bank versus the IIROC advisors -- if they own an IIROC firm. If advisors are going to attract and retain those types of clients they’re going to need to up their game.”

The report’s major conclusion finds that HNW households want to deal with a quarterback or primary point of contact. The family office model is what many of these HNW clients are looking for and increasingly they expect their advisors to be able to provide expert advice across the wealth management continuum. Maybe not personally but they better have a team of people that can bring real advice to the table.

Beyer suggests that the CSI’s Certified International Wealth Manager (CIWM) designation, which it offers in conjunction with the Swiss-based Association of International Wealth Management (AIWM) is one way to climb the hurdle that is the high net worth client.

“Wealth management is a field of practice that requires a unique set of specialized knowledge and skills, as outlined in this paper and to which the Certified International Wealth Manager (CIWM) program was designed and developed to address,” concludes the 25-page report. “The CIWM is not the only route to elevating the capabilities of wealth advisors, however, it is an internationally recognized and respected program held by elite advisors and signifies a commitment to expertise in the growing practice of wealth management.”
 
With the number of high net worth households -- those with more than $1 million in investable assets -- expected to increase by 76% to 1.1 million by 2022 while also controlling $3.7 trillion or two-thirds of the financial wealth in Canada, advisors who want in on the action are wise to at least consider the designation.
 
“The CIWM is quite popular in Europe. We’ve brought it to North America and at some point we’ll be introducing it into the U.S. as well,” said Beyer. “Our goal was to try and create an international standard for wealth management and the CIWM is the premier certification in this space.”