How to Attract High Net Worth Clients for Wealth Management

by Sheryl Theisen

Updated September 7, 2023, at 3:08 PM

You’re a wealth manager, and you want know how to attract high net worth clients to your business.

You want in on the High-Net-Worth Individual’s (HNWI) Club, so to speak. Now, the goal is understandable from a business perspective, but you’ll need to understand the minds of those in this niche if you’re going to be accepted.

An Investopedia report found that 98% of HNWIs access the Internet daily and are early adopters of emerging products. They’re tech users and tech investors. Since 2019, the key wealth driver has been tech-driven. Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft accounted for more than 53% of S&P 500 total returns posted during 2020.

If you want to capture the HNWI mindshare in today’s wealth management landscape, you’re going to need to invest in talent and technology that provides omnichannel advisory services.

Let’s look at the HNWI niche.

Who’s the HNWI?

There isn’t a concrete number for just how wealthy someone must be to be considered high net worth (HNW).

However, people who fall into this category generally have at least $1 million in liquid financial assets, and in 2020 the US had the most HNW people in the world—more than 6.5 million of them. And those fortunate enough to hold at least $30 million are considered ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI).

According to Spectrem Group, here are the traits of a UHNWI:

  • 94% are college graduates
  • 45% have advanced college degrees
  • 21% have an MBA
  • The average age is 66, with only 8% below age 54
  • 61% are retired 
  • 14% are semi-retired
  • 6% are business owners
  • 29% call themselves self-directed investors
  • 28% are event-driven investors who use an advisor for specialized needs such as retirement planning or finding alternative investments

Related: Attracting & Managing High Net Worth Clients [Infographic]

Why Target the HNWI or UHNWI?

It makes sense to have a book of business filled with these individuals. When it takes more work to build and preserve those assets, the investor tends to be more committed.

The HNWI expects the same level of commitment from financial advisors. They believe in paying for expert advice to help them reach their financial and non-financial goals.

By aligning goals through dedication, wealth managers and investors will reap the rewards. HNW clients generally qualify for increased and better benefits such as separately-managed investment accounts, services with reduced fees, and the ability to participate in initial public offerings (IPOs) and invest in startups that demonstrate financial potential.

What’s the Key to Attracting HNW Clients?

Build relationships that foster trust. The perceived value of a wealth manager is driven by a combination of personal relationships and investment results.

According to a World Wealth Report, HNWIs have become more involved in their investments and now make complex demands of their wealth managers to grow their wealth.

As a wealth manager working to attract HNWIs, you’ll need to provide omnichannel capabilities and work fluidly between your client’s self-directed investment activities and their need for an advice-seeking approach.

Related: Client Segmentation for Wealth Management Firms [Guide]

Attracting Through Tech

The offshoot of investors focusing on technology means wealth managers may want to embrace and leverage this in their own business. The use of data and technology set apart the average advisor from the wealth manager looking to build their client’s portfolio.

Industry-leading managers and technology must prioritize the customer experience.

“Commitment to human-centered design, data and insights-driven culture, and sustainable investing expertise will be important building blocks for the inventive wealth management firm.”

World Wealth Report Executive Summary

Successful Wealth Manager Profile for HNWIs

These six components are what a HNWI may be looking for when they choose a wealth manager. By focusing your expertise in these areas, you can create and hopefully reach your HNWI niche:

  1. According to GWG research, 70% of top wealth managers that earn $1 million or more annually prefer a clientele in a certain niche. Doing so helps them stand out in a competitive environment.

    HNWIs seek brands that match their interests and passions. This means you need to understand these industries to craft engaging and thoughtful marketing strategies that capture their attention.

  2. A HNWI is accustomed to personalized and concierge service, so add value to your brand with the backing of a network of reliable professionals.

    For example, you can offer clients higher quality and more integrated service with a professional team of CPAs, attorneys, insurance agents, and accountants to utilize.

  3. A downloadable report by Wealth-X identifies sports, wellness, business, and finance among the favorite leisure activities of male HNWIs. Philanthropic activities rank highest for females with health and education as favorite charitable choices. Successful wealth managers have a vested interest in these areas building alignment and camaraderie.

  4. HNW people prefer to research and study before making decisions, so you need to be a reliable source of information. Marketing collateral is pivotal. Blog posts, emails, insightful content, and seminars will build brand awareness while creating a story around your brand.

  5. The key strategies you adopt will depend on your goal of aligning your business model with the interests of the HNWI. Specialized landing pages, carefully planned advertising campaigns, and engaging social media posts are all tried-and-tested techniques to reach the HNWI.

  6. Wealth managers can focus solely on HNWIs by providing investment management, estate planning, tax planning, and other services. Many HNW clients need a wealth manager who can speak to their estate, tax, and philanthropic planning.

Related: Portfolio vs. Planning: How to Win & Retain High Net Worth Clients

Building a HNW Client Base

Here in the US, HNWI growth continues to lead the world with a 12.3% increase observed in 2020. North American HNWIs’ wealth is primarily equity-driven, making up 38% of total asset-class investments.

The 25th Edition of the World Wealth Report by Capgemini notes, “When faced with market volatility, HNWIs seek to preserve rather than grow their wealth and therefore tend to allocate wealth to safer asset classes.”

Building a HNWI client base doesn’t happen overnight. By creating your brand within this niche and understanding what makes a HNWI tick, you’ll be in a better position.

Keep Reading: 4 Tips for Getting More Referrals at Your Social Events

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For Financial Professional Use Only

The content within this article is for educational purposes only and does not represent legal, tax or investment advice. Customers should consult a legal or tax professional regarding their own situation. This presentation is not an offer to purchase, sell, replace, or exchange any financial product. Insurance products and any related guarantees, features and/or benefits are backed by the claims paying ability of an insurance company. Insurance policy applications are vetted through an underwriting process set forth by the issuing insurance company. Some applications may not be accepted based upon adverse underwriting results.

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