Ultra-wealthy investors are less self-directed these days. Who are they most likely to turn to for financial advice?
Ultra-wealthy households are more likely to use a primary financial advisor than they were two years ago, according to a new Millionaire Corner wealth level study of households with a net worth of at least $25 million (not including primary residence). Almost one-quarter of these investors consider a full-service brother to be their primary advisor, a sharp increase over two years ago, when we last conducted this study.
Less than one-quarter (22 percent) of respondents describe themselves as self-directed, meaning they make all of their own financial decisions without the benefit of a professional advisor. This is down four percentage points from 2010. Thirty-one percent—up from 28 percent two years ago—consult with a financial advisor only for specific needs such as retirement planning or asset allocation advice. The percentage of those who make their own financial decisions but do consult regularly with an advisor, or who rely on an advisor to make all of their financial decisions is basically unchanged from two years ago.
A full service broker is the primary advisor for 23 percent of ultra-wealthy investors, up from 13 percent in 2010. Eighteen percent consider an independent financial planner to be their primary advisor.
Far fewer of these ultra-wealthy households consider an attorney to be their primary advisor, just 7 percent vs. 15 percent two years ago.
A higher percentage of the eldest baby boomers ages 56-65 consider a private banker or investment manager as their primary advisor, while those younger than 55 are the most likely to count most on an independent financial planner and an accountant.
Seniors over the age of 65 are significantly more likely (38 percent) to rely on a full service broker.
Wealth level is not a significant factor in whom the ultra-wealthy select as a primary advisor. The least wealthy of these households (with a net worth between $25 million and $49.9 million) are the most likely to opt for a full service broker, while the wealthiest households (with a net worth of $125 million and up) are the most likely to consider an attorney and a family/multifamily office representative as their primary financial advisor.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.