Posts Tagged ‘Trott’

Characteristics of High Net Worth Clients

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

PriceMetrix just released a report on the characteristics of high net worth clients (defined by them as people having a net worth of at least $2 million). There are a few very interesting pieces of information that advisors should consider in their ongoing planning processes.

(The breadth of the client database at PriceMetrix – 7 million retail investors and 500 million transactions – always gives me confidence in the validity of their reports.)

1) The most interesting aspect of this report to me is that the study found that just 3% of households with less than $500,000 when a relationship began, became high net worth clients over the subsequent five years. I can’t say it any better than the Doug Trott, the CEO of PriceMetrix: “The number of times small households become high net worth clients is simply too few to merit an advisor’s attention. Advisors should concentrate on finding, not manufacturing big clients. Seventy five percent of high net worth clients were high net worth from the very beginning of their relationship with their advisor.”

Other than family relationships, where you are trying to cultivate future relationships, I agree that it makes little sense to target smaller investors with the hope that they will become larger. Advisors should consider raising their account minimums if they have been targeting prospects with lower net worths.

2) The study confirmed that high net worth investors tend to spread their investments among account types and advisors. This argues for advisors adopting a business model where they accept this fact, and rather than try to convince clients to consolidate their assets with them (at least initially), they develop the ability to be the primary advisor – the one who can provide complete account performance (even for assets held away) and multiple services so that they can be the “go to” person.

3) While high net worth clients typically pay lower fees, the range of fees found was significant account to dispel the rumor that fees drive relationships. To quote Mr. Trott again: “They (advisors) shouldn’t deeply discount their prices because it won’t help and they should limit their number of small households because large numbers will impair their ability to appropriately service high net worth clients.”

4) Finally, the study validated the well known fact that high net worth clients tend to have more in fee-based accounts and migrate away from mutual funds as their net worth grows. Fifty one percent of high net worth clients have fee-based accounts, while only 36% of households with between $250,000 and $500,000 in assets have fee-based accounts.

Some good information to help advisors plan for the future.