A financial planner who also helps arrange travel?
PHOENIX -- Could the next trend in mass affluent financial planning be … travel planning?
It’s not so far-fetched. These days, families with $10 million — or even less — are demanding the kinds of services once reserved for clients with $100 million or more, according to Gabe Garcia, head of relationship management for BNYMellon|Pershing’s Advisor Solutions group.
“The values proposition has changed,” said Garcia, who spoke on a panel at the firm’s Insite conference. “What you’re providing has changed. The traditional building blocks of a successful practice may need to be torn down. How does your business evolve and adjust? You need to be thinking about it today.”
When a client asked Scott Klososky to help arrange a special family trip, the founding partner of digital strategy firm TriCorps Technologies, after getting over his surprise, made it happen. He then created and filled a position dedicated to client experiences. Klososky recommends advisors make similar concessions to client demands. “The actual management of assets is becoming commoditized,” said Klososky, who appeared with Garcia on a conference panel. “We can't just say, ‘my firm manages better than your firm.’”
The idea of hiring an "experience concierge," as Garcia calls it, may seem far-fetched but societal changes are rattling the foundation of wealth management. Having someone on staff who knows the details of a family’s wealth and priorities is a “selling point for new clients,” Klososky said. “We know how much they can afford, we know whether they will fly on a private plane versus first class. Wealth managers will need to figure out how to provide services that are different from just managing money.”
Robos are taking over many investment recommendation duties. Indeed, they run through risk scenarios better and faster than humans, Garcia and Klososky agreed. Machine intelligence easily and inexpensively performs back office tasks, investment monitoring — even client communication. And boomers, who hold 56% of the country’s investable assets, compared with younger investors’ 20%, increasingly tell Pershing advisors they want to invest in experiences rather than waiting for their children to inherit the wealth.
Concierge-type services will also help attract and keep younger clients without millions to invest, said Garcia. It will also help firms diversify. “You have 82 million millennials who are earning income. They have equally complex needs as boomers but don’t have the assets.” Offering more experience-based advice will likely force firms to alter their fee structure. “Those kinds of services are never AUM-based services,” Garcia went on.
Advisors who have shifted away from offering just financial advice have benefited, according to Garcia and Klososky. “Today, we are seeing more experience-led, experience-driven services; more technological collaboration,” said Garcia. “And we are seeing better outcomes.”