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Building an all-star team to meet HNW demands

SAN DIEGO -- Wealthy people don’t want to be “propositioned,” says CEG Worldwide senior managing principal Jonathan Powell.

Instead, advisers managing high-net-worth clients must convey their value without making their clients feel like “they’re on [a] conveyor belt,” Powell said at IMCA’s 2017 Annual Conference Experience in San Diego.

Managing these clients requires a unique set of skills. To do so effectively, advisers must consider five key areas when building a team: wealth preservation, wealth enhancement, wealth transfer, wealth protection and charitable giving, according to Powell.

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HNW-focused firms should put in place a private client attorney, CPA, life insurance specialist and a high-end property casualty person — someone who works with clients who have multiple homes, expensive art and wine collections, Powell says. More importantly, they must also ensure the right people are in those roles, he says.

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“Most advisers go with the low-hanging fruit; the accountant that lives across the street or the attorney that lives next door,” he says. “We want people to build an all-star team.”

DEEPENING THE BENCH
Developing a multi-layered team is an important step, Powell says. By keeping “players on the bench,” a firm will have staffers ready to take their place when colleagues retire or leave for another firm, he adds.

“The biggest mistake is settling,” Powell explains. “If you were a professional baseball coach, you’d have a farm team.”

Therefore, firms must hire and train team members who are uniquely skilled, but who will also build experience in areas that match the demands specific to their clients, Powell says. If a firm can't find someone in-house, they should look for other professionals with whom their clients are familiar, he says.

“If you work with retirees, you will want people who work with retirees,” Powell says. “If you work with corner-office executives, you will want people who work with those people, as well.”

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