A recent report by the mortgages arm of wealth manager Butterfield found that 63% of HNWs have changed financial services providers in the past two years because they felt they were receiving “insufficient attention”.
Butterfield Mortgages surveyed 550 UK-based HNWIs with investment assets worth around £1m ($1.27m, €1.13m).
It also found 78% use quality of customer care as a “key consideration” when choosing financial and professional service providers.
Two-thirds said they will have several face-to-face meetings with service providers before choosing an advice firm.
Jason Witcombe, financial planner at Progeny, told International Adviser: “I agree with the findings. Customer care is a key consideration. Our clients are paying for quality and service is a key part of that quality. They want to deal with human beings, not call centres.
“They expect to have advisers who can mix technical knowledge and experience with softer skills such as emotional intelligence. They are often time-poor and so appreciate reliable, mature, proactive advisers who do not need to be chased for answers.”
Forgotten value of personalised wealth
The industry’s move away from face-to-face can be seen as alienating.
The survey found almost two thirds (64%) of HNWIs said they are willing to pay more or achieve lower returns when making a financial decision if they receive a high quality of customer care.
Steve Pennington, head of wealth planning at Arbuthnot Latham, told IA: “Many of the larger banks that address the HNW market have forgotten how much clients value a personalised approach, they have a commoditised and depersonalised service.
“In my experience, HNW clients want a relationship that is based on trust and continuity of engagement with known members of their relationship team who become their personal advisers.
“Clients value being understood and the secret to great client care for HNW clients is that they have access to services such as wealth planning, investment management and banking from professionals who understand them and are passionate about the client experience.”
Moving towards the ESG space
The survey also discussed how HNWIs prefer face-to-face dealings when looking into investment options.
Butterfield found that 74% are conscious of the social, ethical and environmental impact of their financial choices.
“We are seeing more clients looking for the ability to adapt their investment portfolio to their views, with social, ethical and environmental options via either positive or negative screening within their portfolio,” said Jeff Hodgetts, managing director of investment management at Kingswood. “Bespoke discretionary management can really add value to these clients in this area.
“We also find that clients value the joined up approach of financial planning with bespoke discretionary management which gives them additional points of contact at the same firm to service their overall financial requirements,” he told IA.
Jonathan Raymond, investment manager at Quilter Cheviot, said to IA: “We focus on structuring and managing bespoke, tailored portfolios for our clients, which is why as investment managers we manage both the relationship with the client as well as looking after their investments.
“It is vitally important that our clients receive the level of service they come to expect from a discretionary investment manager, and so we have to continue to ensure we meet their expectations and go above and beyond wherever we can.”