August 2015 | 

Finding and Retaining Ultra-High Net Worth Clients

Finding and Retaining Ultra-High Net Worth Clients

For investment professionals who cater to ultra-high net worth clients, it is not enough to know about some of the 264 new hedge funds that were launched in the first quarter of this year. Or about private equity partnerships or offshore trusts. While that knowledge is critical in helping these investors grow and protect their wealth, it alone is not enough to distinguish you among a rapidly expanding group of competitors.

Wharton finance professor Richard Marston, who serves as an advisor to four family offices, directs a new program that helps advisors achieve that goal. Marston says Private Wealth Management Professional Track provides a unique opportunity for investment professionals to learn more about their clients to better anticipate and meet their needs. “We have worked with over 800 ultra-high net worth family members over the past 15 years, and our faculty have deep insights into these investors.”

Teaching in the program is Charlotte Beyer, who after 20 years on Wall Street founded the Institute for Private Investors to help improve the relationship between wealthy investors and their advisors. Marston says Beyer’s new book, Wealth Management Unwrapped, and the sessions she teaches at Wharton, are a roadmap for approaching the investment industry. “Charlotte’s knowledge of this end of the industry is extensive. She gives participants a behind-the-scenes look at their competition, including other types of advisors, and their fees and incentives.”

The new four-day program offers sessions with experts in the asset classes of interest to ultra-high net worth investors. They share new research on and insights into hedge funds, private equity, venture capital, real estate, and more. A dynamic lesson on strategic decision-making helps advisors improve this critical skill, while lectures and discussions shed light on how investors evaluate advisors’ performance and how to understand family governance issues that may impact their work.

Learning also goes beyond the classroom. As with most Wharton Executive Education programs, participants put their new knowledge to use immediately. During Private Wealth Management Professional Track, teams create an investment plan for a family struggling with decisions regarding their wealth and issues of governance. The patriarch has already fired a number of advisors, and represents the kind of panicky investor participants are all too familiar with. Teams present their plans at the end of the program to a group of ultra-high net worth individuals who offer experience-based feedback.

“Investment advisors know the value of education,” says Marston. “Many of them continue to seek out opportunities to stay current, or take advantage of programming offered by their employers. This new program is a cut above. It is designed to help you grow your business, not only through knowledge of investment products, asset classes, and portfolio management, but through a deep dive into who your clients and your competition are.”