This week at CALU 2011 in Ottawa, Keith Sjögren (LinkedIn profile) of research firm Investor Economics spoke about those with High Net Worth (HNW). Technically, they have $1 million of investable assets. Here we'll call them "wealthy" and review findings.
Key IssuesThe wealthy identified two key financial concerns
- how to minimize tax
- how to transfer their wealth
Because of the recent poor economic environment, the wealthy have become more conservative. They're focusing more on capital preservation than returns. That's predictable.
ExpectationsOverall, the wealthy are now more demanding. They want advisors with expertise and significant technical skills.
The older wealthy prefer older advisors. They don't feel a young'un can understand what they've gone through. The young wealthy aren't keen on older advisors who are prone to think like their parents. They prefer younger advisors who are technically-savvy and share contemporary views. Finding a "modern" advisor is a big challenge since
- many advisors are close to retirement
- there are fewer newer advisors
- there's little training for new advisors
Changing AdvisorsTo simplify their lives, the wealthy have cut advisors and now use about 2.5. Here are reasons they have switched (more most important to least important)
- inadequate level of expertise
- disagreement regarding strategy
- high fees
- lack of objectivity
ConfidenceDo the wealthy have confidence in their current advisors?
- Yes: 67%
- No: 5%
- Unsure: 28%
Switching advisors is a hassle and less than 10% do in a year. When the wealthy leave an advisor, they tend to go to a bank. Private banks are growing but there is the perennial problem of biased advice and cross-selling. That's part of the cost of getting advice from your banker.
The Luxury MarketThe session ended with some insights about consumers in the luxury market
- expect privileged service (e.g., private bankers)
- expect increasing levels of service
- less brand loyalty
- crave innovation
- reward performance over reputation
- demand technical expertise since they are becoming increasingly inquisitive
- Other posts from CALU sessions (Google search)
- Trading up: distorting our spending to get what we want
- The foolproof measure of trust
- Why is financial planning ignored?
- The key to financial literacy / numeracy
- Understanding the HNW market: Interview with Keith Sjögren (advisor.ca, Mar 2008)
- Most Canadian millionaires are self-made (The Record, Apr 2011)
- The million-dollar club (The Globe & Mail, Feb 2010)
- The dread of going to a bank for a loan
- The cost of getting advice from your banker
Podcast 116 (5:01)
direct download | Internet Archive page | iTunes (new)
PS I spoke at CALU too. Here's the background and a video of my session on YouTube.