How to Find the Best High Net Worth Wealth Manager

05/11/2022

Finding financial peace of mind is important to most people. The problem is that uncertainty in the economy and stock markets can create anxiety and make you question the wisdom of your investment approach. Even worse, if you don't have a financial plan that takes into account your total financial life, you may feel lost or stressed. If the current market environment is troubling, you may be interested in working with a wealth manager to help give you clarity and guidance. Here is how to find the best wealth manager for you.

Entrusting your hard-earned money to a financial advisor is a significant decision. When searching for the right professional, you want to find someone with the knowledge, experience, and drive to help you navigate your unique life and financial considerations. If you earn a considerable amount of money, whether through your salary, equity compensation, your own business, real estate, and other investments, you will need someone specialising in high-net-worth wealth and investment management.

  • What does it mean for us to specialise in high-net-worth wealth management?
  • What should you look for in a financial partner?
  • How can you ensure you make the right decision regarding an advisor?

What is high net worth?

There isn't a legal definition of what it means to be "high net worth," but most classify it as a range between 1 million and 5 million in liquid assets, including stocks, bonds, cash, or mutual funds. High-net-worth investors may also be interested in alternative investments like private equity, venture capital, and more. Conversely, ultra-high net worth investors tend to have 5 million to 30 million. Why does it matter how much someone has saved? It is essential to consider this factor because different levels of wealth tend to be associated with different financial needs and concerns, so the strategies and investment advice an advisor uses and recommends will (and should!) differ. Plus, the investment decisions you will make will also be distinct!

What does the wealth manager specialise in?

First, identify if the advisor you are considering even specialises in high-net-worth wealth management. If he does, he should be able to explain what he does and how it is relevant to you. What the advisor says should also match what you find online about them and what they describe on their website. So what are the magic indicators? Here are a few.

  • High-net-worth investment strategies - What does the advisor invest clients' money in? High net worth individuals often have significant investments outside of tax-advantaged retirement accounts, which comes with unique considerations, notably tax-managed investing. Certain high-net-worth strategies can help maximise after-tax returns while also better managing risk to help preserve the wealth that you've worked so hard to build. There will also be different portfolio management strategies to consider to minimise taxes and maximise efficiency.
  • High-net-worth retirement planning - Your advisor should be able to develop a sophisticated distribution plan that takes all of your assets into account. They should also be able to advise you on the most opportune ways to get income in retirement, be mindful of taxes, and charitable giving strategies.
  • High-net-worth tax planning - High-net-worth individuals need to be very mindful of taxes, and your advisor should have a deliberate plan for how to address them in your situation. Charitable giving strategies and tax-efficient investments are likely tools.
  • High-net-worth estate planning - If you have considerable assets, you may also have significant goals concerning your estate. As such, you need financial services that also include your estate, like seamless wealth transfer, tax considerations, charitable giving, and legacy.

Is the advisor required to put your best interests first?

Once you identify that your advisor has the necessary skills, you must ensure he also operates with your best interest in mind. How will you know the answer to this question? Ask the advisor if he is a fiduciary. If he is, he will be willing to put it in writing, so don't be afraid to ask him. A fiduciary is legally required to provide you with recommendations that are better for you than for the advisor's bottom line.

How is he compensated?

Make sure you understand precisely how the advisor gets paid and if he receives any commissions from products they recommend to you. Ideally, you want a "performance fee-only advisor," meaning your advisor cannot receive any form of compensation from the financial advice he gives you other than what you pay him. This payment structure reduces entirely his incentive to make recommendations that are better for him than for you. Your advisor may receive a percentage of the investments he manages for you, typically around 0.4% for high net worth individuals. The fee often depends on how much money your advisor manages for you.

Is he trying to sell you or advise you?

This question goes hand-in-hand with making sure he is a performance fee-only fiduciary. If your advisor seems more interested in selling you a product, steer clear! Wealth management, in all forms, should be led by action and advice rather than products. Products should help you implement a strategy-not BE the strategy!

What technology does he use?

What you are looking for concerning technology is that the advisor has the appropriate technology in place to manage and track your financial plan and communicate with you. Most wealth managers use some form of commercially available financial planning software. This software often allows you to link all of your accounts to make all of your information available in one place. Ask to see a demo of your potential advisor's tech. If you work with him, you may be using this software regularly, so it's important that you feel comfortable using it and like how it looks and feels.

How does he communicate?

Ask him how, and how often, he communicates with you. You should pay attention to how your potential advisor answers this question because he should be willing to adapt to your preference within reason. Will he call you once a quarter? Email once a month? There's no right or wrong answer, but you want to know that he is communicating with you often enough and in a preferred method.

What are his credentials and experience?

Professional certifications are a way of verifying your advisor's field knowledge. The Certified Financial Planner is a wonderful designation to look for. To earn the CFP credential, an advisor must complete a comprehensive study program covering all the key topics in personal financial planning, pass a rigorous exam, and satisfy experience requirements. At expatwealthatwork, we are CFP professionals. We average over 15 years of experience helping high-net-worth individuals.

The Right Firm Is Out There!

Finding the best high-net-worth wealth manager for you can be intimidating because it's so important to find an advisor you can trust. You also want to work with an advisor offering wealth management services which are designed to help you reach your financial goals.

Selecting the right advisor is a big decision and should be taken seriously. You have a lot of options in your search for the right advisor, from private banking to large financial corporations to an independent registered investment advisor like us. We would love a chance to speak with you and show you how we can help: info@expatwealthatwork.com