James Edsberg, of Gulland Padfield\'s Wealth Management practice, highlights a number of observations for any advisory firm looking to sharpen its client acquisition approach to this dynamic but demanding market segment.
Client centricity: it’s an institutional challenge
Every successful private banker can say - with justification - that they focus on delivering a good service for their clients. The latest wave of research among UHNWIs and HNWIs shows that individual relationship managers usually enjoy high approval. Where issues arise, it’s often for ‘organisational’ reasons not the individual. The potential for improvement lies in a firm’s governance, systems, IT, policies, product strategy, talent management and brand.
It’s when both the individual and the institution are ‘client centric’ that we’ve seen dramatic leaps in performance and profitability.
Close the ‘insight gulf’ with better data on clients and prospects
Many firms could still go further - at an institutional level - to get an objective view of what HNWIs want. Without that, it’s difficult to get internal agreement about where an institution needs to invest and change.
Link the drive to improve service with winning new relationships
For a referral to work, the existing client needs to recommend the institution as well as the RM. We see firms making greater efforts to explain to people what it would be like to join them as a new client. Articulating the service experience (not just the product offering), is the elusive route to differentiation in a sector where there are no USPs. Firms are only just beginning to make this link between client service, referrals and brand differentiation.
Know a client’s true value to your business and adopt a horizon strategy
Being client centric means first establishing which prospective clients are the best fit for your firm. No business can be client centric for every HNW. For their sake and yours, know the true value they bring to your business and the cost of looking after them well. That said, building relationships with entrepreneurs is about advising on their potential wealth as well as their tangible assets.
Reset your reward and remuneration approach
Yes, it’s a difficult topic, but the behaviours encouraged by some remuneration and policies sow seeds which later make it difficult for a firm to be client centric. There are several changes which management teams should consider which would reinforce a team\\\'s drive to win new business and new clients.
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