The ultra-wealth advisory firms poised for greatest success recognize that this business is a developing business—distinct from investment, private banking, financial planning and trust—that requires its own set of operational practices. The lessons of these firms provide a road map for those seeking to build enduring wealth advisory enterprises.
The wealth advisory industry is growing at an unprecedented rate as more and more registered investment advisors, larger financial institutions, accounting and law firms are attracted by strong client population growth rates in the ultra wealthy segment. Although there is tremendous market opportunity and barriers to entry are relatively low, service requirements are extremely complex and competition is intense. Read The Enduring Enterprise: Building a Sustainable Wealth Advisory Business for a high-level view of operational challenges facing wealth advisors and business practices of firms that are well-positioned for future growth and profitability.
Profit margins in the ultra-wealth advisory business are frequently lower than those of more traditional private banking and wealth management businesses. Costs are trending upward, particularly personnel and technology costs, and firms are struggling to perfect their pricing strategies. Read Pricing for Profitability: Pricing Practices in an Evolving Ultra-Wealth Marketplace for innovative approaches.
Compensation and benefits are the largest expenses for multi-family offices and wealth advisors, often representing over 50% of the firm’s expenses. Watch the recorded webinar Economics of Talent: Hiring, Compensation, and Team Structure Practices in Multi-family Offices and Family Wealth Advisory Firms for the best ways that today's firms are sourcing, developing, and compensating talent.
Marketing plays an increasingly important role in determining sales success for private wealth advisory firms. Many firms have enhanced their service offerings and have a compelling new “story” to tell. At the same time, new entrants continue to crowd the marketplace, making it more difficult for prospective clients to distinguish among service providers. Read Standing Out in the Crowd: Strategies for Marketing, Positioning, and Leveraging Networks for tips on how to elevate your brand.
Firms are taking a fresh look at how they approach and staff their sales function to meet the increasing demands for growth. Up until now, many firms have not had a clearly defined sales culture. Relationship managers have been responsible for servicing current clients as well as courting new business. While these managers have not viewed sales as their first priority, their organizations have recognized the need for more new business, which is leading to a change in industry sales models and greater specialization in sales roles. Read The Enterprise Sales Process: Best Practices in Business Development for current industry trends and strategies for formalizing your firm's sales process.