Ultra High Net Worth investors with a net worth between $5 million and $24.9 million (not including primary residence are, among all of the wealth segments, the most satisfied with their advisors.
Eighty percent said they are satisfied overall with their advisor, compared with 70 percent of Millionaires, according to a 2011 Millionaire Corner wealth level study. This is to be expected as these customers are certainly at the top of their advisor’s call-back list. During the stock market downturn last August, for example, the wealthiest of investors surveyed by Millionaire Corner reported getting pro-active calls from their advisors to reassure them and answer questions.
While the most valued of customers, the Ultra High Net Worth are hands-on with their investments. Only 16 percent of those surveyed for a 2011 Millionaire Corner wealth level study identified themselves as advisor-dependent. A third said they consult regularly with an advisor, but still make most of their own financial decisions. Twenty-seven percent make most of their own investment decisions, but use an advisor for specific needs, such as retirement planning. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) make their own investment decisions with any assistance from an advisor (Millionaire investors householdsare even more independent—only 12 percent said they were dependent on an advisor, while 31 percent identify themselves as self-directed investors).
In selecting an advisor, the Ultra High Net Worth investor places the highest premium on an advisor’s track record (93 percent), followed by the depth of products and services he or she offers (88 percent), fees or commissions charged (83 percent), and whether the advisor offers products from a variety of companies.
Advisors who want to keep their ultra wealthy clients satisfied are encouraged to return phone calls in a timely manner. This was cited as the primary reason to switch advisors by 57 percent of respondents. UHNW investors are also most likely to switch advisors if they feel they are not getting good ideas and advice (49 percent), while 47 percent demand their advisor check in with them.
What these elite clients treasure most in an advisor is honesty and trustworthiness (99 percent), transparency (93 percent), and whether the advisor comes with a strong referral from a trusted source (69 percent).
Pet peeves, as reported by Forbes from a survey of investors who are members of the Institute for Private Investors, include “brochure speak,” “having said that” syndrome, dominating the conversation without allowing for input from the investor, or being arrogant or defensive about investment strategy or performance.