Wealth managers providing separately managed accounts and private client services are going to vie most actively for the assets of the very wealthy in the coming years, a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey shows. Seventy-one percent of wealth managers expect to increase their number of ultra-high-net-worth clients with $50 million or more to invest, but only 14% plan to increase the number of affluent clients with $100,000 to invest.

However, those pursuing the ultra-high-net-worth and high-net-worth, which PricewaterhouseCoopers defines as those with $5 million or more to invest, are ill prepared to meet the complex needs of these investors, said John K. Fletcher, North American wealth management services practice leader. As well, most wealth managers do not have a client-retention plan in place, Fletcher said.

To serve this market properly, managers will need to develop products that better suit customer needs and hire more client-relationship managers, he said. As well, providing a few, key products and services rather than a wide array will help wealth managers win this market. There is also a growing divide between firms that focus on producing products and those that distribute them, the survey showed.

Respondents to the 2003 Global Private Banking/Wealth Management Survey also predicted assets over the next year will grow 8% in North America, 3% in Europe and 10% in Asia.



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