A prominent estate planning attorney I was meeting with recently said it well:
“The middle high net worth segment ($5 million to $40 million net worth) often encounter:
A) a revolving door (of representatives) from mega-institutions that may “lower their standard” and accept them as a border-line (size) account, or
B) biased sales pitches from retail brokers and banks who are incentivized and organized to pitch investment products rather than provide comprehensive investment and wealth management services.”
We couldn’t agree more with this synopsis. As we like to say, who wants to work with an advisor who “gives them no respect” (we call it the “Rodney Dangerfield” treatment) and way too complicated and costly investment products in today’s open architecture world? Or, who wants to be the gravy train for the top sales superstars of retail brokerages and banks when “open source/free agency” investing has opened up a world of quality, lean investment vehicles less complicated, less costly and less sticky (easy to plug in and out)?
When it comes down to it, we believe the $5 million to $40 million net worth segment (the segment that is and has been our declared focus for a long, long time) have three primary needs and wants:
- A quality relationship with a fiduciary and fee-only advisor who genuinely knows and serves them (and legally has to do what is in their best interest).
- A robust modern-era investment platform and service that is lean, nimble and continually managed on their behalf (preferably Evidence Based Investing with all five levels of optimization).
- A comprehensive wealth management and preservation service that proactively measures and builds financial strength (preferably Strength Based Wealth Management with all 35 Essential Strengths addressed).
Frankly, we believe a far majority of people in this segment want to be “unleashed from the complexity of wealth.” In other words, they want a well cared and tended portfolio and want to be a good or even great steward of their wealth (avoiding depletion and generally being on top of important items), but not at the expense of it dominating their time.
We really question whether the giant institutions or the retail brokerages and banks we sometimes see in this our space/segment can ever address a clients true base needs and wants to be unleashed from wealth yet be a prudent steward of it. Just like concierge doctors now exist who have escaped the insanity of the mass institutional medical system, enterprise level wealth management firms like us have emerged as a powerful force to be seriously considered.