Advisors should stop denying that potential client with only $250,000 in investible assets.

The so called "emerging affluent" investor group, with an average age of 40, might not have the most money in investible assets at the moment but they could surpass their older counterparts, according to findings in Fidelity’s Millionaire Outlook study.

“The power of this emerging affluent group is 27 years or more with good earnings,” says Bob Oros, head of the RIA segment for Fidelity Clearing and Custody. “And they are typically employed in information technology, medicine, finance and accounting.”

While the Fidelity study classified “mass affluent” as a 58-year-old investor with $800,000 in investible assets, both groups have a household income of $125,000. Despite the same income level, emerging affluent investors have more time to make and reap the benefits of their investment decisions.

“These folks will grow into the types of clients you're typically serving now,” he said. “They have the potential to out-generate the wealth of current millionaires.”

Oros believes that the younger set of investors may actually end up with more assets by the time they retire than current retirees have because 41% said they were willing to set aside a “significant” portion of their portion for risky investment, according to the study.


Young investors do want to have a designated financial advisor. Slightly over 50% of emerging affluent investors said they feel a planner is important to achieve investment success, and 48% already use an advisor, according to the study. However, 60% of this group said they would be more willing to work with an advisor if the fees were lower.

Advisors fear that younger investors will forgo their services in favor of technology products that will help them plan their financial decisions for a cheaper fee. However, that might not be the case according to Oros.

“They might be comfortable with technology, but they want people to be that collaborative side,” he said. “Many of these affluent investors feel the need for collaboration for what is being done in the portfolio.”

Only 24% of the emerging affluent admitted to be knowledgeable about investing, however they expressed an interest in learning more, according to the study.

“They are going to want inter-personal communication, but it might not necessarily be face-to-face,” he said. “This is an opportunity for advisors to be more educator than technician.”


One of the most significant points the study makes is that planners should be aware that their clients may start looking a little different.

“What makes this interesting is advisors historically held large minimums and we’ve seen a pivot to advisors thinking about, ‘How do I serve folks of less assets and have more diversity in my business?’” he said.
Of emerging affluent clients, 68% are female and 75% are white, compared to clients in the mass affluent, millionaires and "deca-millonaires" categories that are 91% white, according to the study.

“I think advisors should be thinking (whether) associates in the firm are a reflection of the clients they are trying to serve,” he said.

"If the answer is no,” he continues, advisors should try to attract more diverse talent. “We have to, as a profession, deal with this issue.”

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