High net worth clients say 11 interactions a year is the ‘sweet-spot’ level of contact with relationship managers at wealth management firms, according to new global research released today by NPG Wealth Management, SEI and Scorpio Partnership. The report, entitled Hanging in the Balance: Conversations with the Futurewealthy, has found that when interaction levels dip below this level, clients are more likely to give a negative review of their experience.
The Futurewealthy who give a satisfaction score of ‘moderate’ or ‘poor’ typically see their relationship manager nine and six times a year respectively. By contrast, those citing ‘good’ or ‘very good’ satisfaction levels believe they are getting the attention they need, hearing from their key contact 11 and 12 times annually.
Product and service specialists also play a supporting role in the client contact strategy, typically interacting with them seven times a year. Across all products and services, 49-58 per cent of the Futurewealthy want either periodic or regular access to specialists, with access levels fluctuating depending on product complexity. As a result, lending solutions, hedge funds and estate planning services are the areas where experts are most widely used.
There are also cultural influencers over the contact strategy. In the Americas, communication with a specialist occurs roughly four times a year. This rises to five interactions in Europe and bounces up to ten times a year in Asia Pacific.
The results also show that almost 60 per cent of the most financially invested clients (those with at least three-quarters of their assets at a wealth management firm) prefer all product and service discussions to happen with their relationship manager. By contrast, just 9 per cent of those with less than a quarter of their wealth at a firm want to interact with a relationship manager, instead choosing to engage with specialists or a digital platform.
“The role of specialists in the client contact strategy should not be underestimated. Not only are they frequently in front of the client, the research highlights that experts enhance the relationship because they deliver access to new opportunities, as well as technical knowledge and informative content” comments Marc Stevens, Chief Executive Officer of NPG Wealth Management.
The report found that despite the rise of Robo-advice, traditional contact strategy is thriving amongst the most highly engaged clients. The results show that almost 60 per cent of the most financially invested clients (those with at least three-quarters of their assets at a wealth management firm) prefer all product and service discussions to happen with their relationship manager. By contrast, just 9 per cent of those with less than a quarter of their wealth at a firm want to interact with a relationship manager, instead choosing to engage with specialists or a digital platform.
“For those who are most deeply invested in their wealth management relationships, the human interface is still the ballast of a communications strategy. This isn’t simply about having good people on the front line but about understanding the nuances of a good conversation from the perspective of the global wealthy,” comments Sebastian Dovey, Managing Partner of Scorpio Partnership.
Brett Williams, Managing Director, SEI Wealth Platform, U.K. Private Banking says: “Wealth management firms need to identify the optimum level of contact between relationship managers and their clients, and strike a balance between technological enablement and established ways of working. Our research is clear in that it is important not to overlook traditional face-to-face contact as a key relationship-building tool for wealth managers, even when new technology is introduced.
Williams continues: “It is of course critical – and essential – to the success of any wealth manager that they ensure their systems are future-proofed to absorb technological upheaval and innovation. But this commitment to maintaining technical strength should help wealth managers to nurture the kind of relevant face-to-face contact which allows both parties to get the most out of their contact with one another.”
To clients with larger assets, a good interaction means the relationship manager acts as a filter, only delivering insight that is relevant to their client’s objectives. Over half of those with a relationship value of over 75 per cent of their assets say they want an overall progress review and 43 per cent of them want to discuss relevant portfolio changes. This compares to 37 per cent and 30 per cent of clients with a lower financial investment.