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What it takes to break into the UHNW segment

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The wealthiest clients require teams of professionals leveraging the highest touch service with a global reach, Markus Lammer, COO of Credit Suisse’s UHNW business in the U.S., explains in an episode of Financial Planning’s Invest Podcast.

The wealthiest clients require teams of professionals leveraging the highest touch service with a global reach, Markus Lammer, COO of Credit Suisse’s UHNW business in the U.S., explains in an episode of Financial Planning’s Invest Podcast.

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The client segment represents the “Holy Grail” for many financial services firms, spanning $15 trillion to $20 trillion in wealth across the 70,000 Americans who have more than $50 million in investable assets, according to Lammer. Credit Suisse’s UHNW business focuses on U.S. entrepreneurs and their families.

In addition to leading the UHNW unit of the firm’s investment banking and capital markets division, Lammer is also the COO of the groups in charge of oil and gas products and institutional services and the founder of the firm’s Entrepreneurs Summit. He was previously COO of Credit Suisse’s Germany and Central Europe divisions.

The axiom that a family fortune doesn’t last beyond the third generation doesn’t always prove true, though succession can mean “commercial danger” to advisors, Lammer says. Planners should “invest heavily in preparing for that succession moment” by building the trust of the entire family, he adds.

Markus Lammer is COO of Credit Suisse’s UHNW business in the U.S.

Besides the relationships with the next generation, advisors should keep in mind that other professionals will be involved with the process as well, according to Lammer. Most UHNW families also have accountants and lawyers, not even to mention those with family offices.

“On both sides, this is not a one-person game: No ultrahigh-net-worth family or individual manages their wealth all alone. They all have teams,” Lammer says. “When you serve one of those families with their complex needs, you can’t do it alone. ... So you need to really build your own team to match the team on the other side.”