Two striking statistics emerged from Accenture’s recent Wealth Management Consumer Report:

  1. Almost 90% of High Net Worth (HNW) investors from our survey with $10 million or more in personal wealth, felt the advice provided to them by their advisor was too generic.
  2. 51% of those HNW investors indicated they would retain a new advisor to oversee all their assets upon receiving a large sum of money beyond an employment bonus.

Based on this figure, roughly 50% of this segment’s assets under management (AUM) may be in play for other firms when life events—like receiving an inheritance, becoming a trust and estate beneficiary, or selling a business, among others—take place. This means it’s even more critical that advisors are proactively engaging with these clients—especially when there are signals of money-in-motion life events.

Consider for a moment this information with the additional finding that nearly one-third of all survey participants expect to leave their current advisor in the coming years. That means that understanding the motivations behind client attrition and taking preventive action now, could allow firms to retain clients and capture money-in-motion.

HNW investors are ready for a new style of advice

Our latest research explores the reasons why nearly 90% of HNW investors with $10 million or more in personal wealth felt the advice provided to them by their advisor was too generic. Clients today are seeking holistic advice that spans banking, insurance, tax, crypto and real estate, as they consider their overall financial state. In addition, 71% of clients want to engage with an advisor whose values are aligned with their own. This could be demonstrated by firms through product offerings that reflect clients’ social and emotional values, or goals for socially responsible investing (SRI) and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investments. Clients expect advisors to anticipate their needs, tailor advice to their preferences and provide a personalized experience. Advisors that can’t deliver on these value propositions will be left behind in the years ahead. This should be a wake-up call to every advisor.

Three ways to grow HNW investor retention

Based on our research and experience, we would suggest three things firms could do to enable advisors to engage successfully with HNW investors for the long term:

The first is to develop deeper connections with clients by continuously seeking to understand and anticipate their ever-changing needs. To enable advisors to focus on deeper personal interactions with clients, advisors must be able to automate and delegate administrative tasks. Advice should be supported by insights and analytics that help advisors identify signals of life events with money-in-motion, so they can further understand and meet clients’ needs. Advisor tools should be enhanced continuously, especially mobile apps, to make it easy for advisors to communicate and engage clients “on the go”.

Second, advisors should offer holistic advice across a diverse product set—including wealth transfer and decumulation planning.

Components of holistic advice

Components of holistic advice graph
Source: Accenture NA Wealth Management Consumer Report

Our research also shows that 69% of clients want an advisor who interacts with and considers input from their spouse. This is a critical step in building trusted relationships with clients and showing them their advisor knows, values and cares about them. In addition, 53% of investors we surveyed would entrust more assets to their advisor if they offered greater and more diversified products—such as direct indexing, cryptocurrencies and ESG investing in addition to banking, lending and tax advice.

Finally, advisors need a scalable way to continuously engage with clients. Insights like Next Best Action analytics and Digital Signals are extremely valuable to alert an advisor when a client is showing signs of leaving. For example, some tools recognize when a client logs in frequently, downloads statements or searches for asset transfer opportunities. Such behavior could prompt the advisor to proactively engage with those clients to prevent them leaving.

Preparing for the upcoming wealth transfer

Nearly $70 trillion in wealth would be transferred from baby boomers to their heirs over the coming years. Advisors should be prepared in return with an approach that matches the evolving needs of their clients and the next generation. Key questions that firms should ask themselves today are:

  • Do we have the holistic products and services that can deliver the personalized experience clients are looking for?
  • Do we provide your advisors with the tools they need to anticipate and engage clients when it matters most?
  • Do we know where we stand on client loyalty?

I believe using the three—and other—techniques that we introduced in this blog for reducing attrition of HNW investors could help wealth managers position their advisors to better support clients from generation to generation.

I hope you found this an interesting reading and if you’d like to discuss this topic further, feel free to contact me or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Special thanks to Stephen Morse, Accenture Consulting Manager – Capital Markets, Wealth Management, for contributing to this blog.