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Are You Being Served?
by   Mark Wade  

Are you satisfied with the level of service you get from your financial professionals? If you’re part of an emerging class of people who have been dubbed the mid-tier millionaires—people with between $5 million and $30 million in assets—the answer is probably no. For these people, their finances have become so complex that managing them can take over their lives if they let it. They struggle with the idea of gaining control over their finances—even as they understand that in today’s economic climate, complex strategies are a must if an investor wants to realize his or her goals.

Mid-tier millionaires have complex financial management needs.

The best research into this segment has been done by the financial consulting firm Capgemini, which came up with the name “mid-tier millionaires.” The firm found that most people in this segment have three or more professionals managing a portion of their portfolios, in addition to people handling their estates, insurance, and other fiscal needs. They use an average of 2.82 advisors each, up from 2.66 just two years ago. And 62 percent of the financial providers surveyed said they expect the number of professionals this group employs to continue to rise.

Some 44 percent of mid-tier millionaires said they use different specialists for each financial need because they feel that no single provider can be good at everything. But they recognize the additional burdens this creates, and nearly four in ten are looking to consolidate the number of firms they work with. They’d also like their record keeping to be cleaner, as evidenced by the fact that 90 percent of the service providers surveyed said their clients wanted increasingly customized reporting.

Similar surveys by CEG Worldwide’s Russ Alan Prince underscored another reason for dissatisfaction. Almost three-quarters of investors with $1 million to $10 million of investable assets have said that they are more than ready to switch financial advisors, Prince found. And one of the top sources of dissatisfaction was their poor personal relationship with that advisor. They just don’t get enough contact.

A COMPLEX WORLD

Why do people in this category need so much help? One obvious answer is that the world is getting more complicated, creating both problems and solutions for those who take advantage of them. Complexity seems to grow in direct proportion to the growth of wealth.

A generation that is paying more attention—and approaching retirement.

Not surprisingly, this group seems to be paying more attention to how that wealth is managed. Capgemini reports that 89 percent of relationship managers believe that these clients are treating their investments more strategically than they used to, rather than just opportunistically looking at performance. And 83 percent of those managers said that mid-tier millionaires are becoming more engaged in their investments.

There’s one other complicating factor: Mid-tier millionaires tend to be baby boomers, a generation that is closing in on retirement age. In passing their money on to the next generation, they face the challenge of the greatest generational wealth transfer in history, yet 45 percent of relationship managers surveyed said that members of this group are ill-prepared in their estate planning and wealth management needs.

The Private CFO model coordinates your team of financial experts.

THE BEST SOLUTION

The upshot of all this is that almost 70 percent of mid-tier millionaires say they want a single provider to coordinate their financial affairs. It is hard not to see the Private CFO model, in which the wealth manager coordinates the actions of a team of financial experts, as the optimal solution.

That’s the model we use for our clients. In the next installment of our newsletter, we’ll examine the Private CFO model in more depth and explore why it has become so popular, even necessary, for today’s mid-tier millionaire.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear about your experiences with financial professionals: Do you feel as if you rely on too many of them? Are they all responsive to your needs? Let me know at 908-647-6000, or send me an e-mail at mwade@echelonwealth.com. Or, for more information on our wealth management offerings, click on www.echelonwealth.com.

 

 



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