An estimated $30 trillion of wealth will be transferred to heirs over the next 30-40 years,1 a fact that is creating a tectonic shift in the landscape of the wealth management business. Forward-looking advisors to high-net-worth (HNW) and ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) families are increasingly recognizing that forging relationships with the next-generation adult children who will inherit family wealth is essential to retain and grow their business.

In many cases, advisors today have little or no relationship with the spouse and adult children of their clients. As a result, those all-important next-generation family members have no basis to see the wealth advisor as a truly trusted family advisor—in other words, their advisor too. This narrow focus on a single family member is a big part of the reason why 70% of widows leave their husband’s financial advisor2 and at least 66% of adult children leave their parents’ financial advisor after receiving an inheritance.3

By embracing the philosophy of “Whole Family Advising”—that is, transitioning from one-to-one advising to one-to-family advising—advisors may become the trusted advisor to all members and generations of a family, and build a strong business that will flourish well into the future. If you are a wealth advisor, the following steps can help you make the transition to a “whole family” trusted advisor.

  1. Adopt the Mindset of a Trusted Whole Family Advisor: Make a proactive effort to envision yourself as an advisor to the whole family, rather than just the matriarch or patriarch.
  2. Repurpose Business Development Efforts: Set aside time in your calendar to meet with the spouses and/or next-generation adult children of your clients with whom you do not yet have a values-based relationship.
  3. Understand Traits and Characteristics of Rising Generations: Absorb all the information you can on the attitudes and concerns of HNW and UHNW Gen X and Millennials related to wealth and wealth management. OppenheimerFunds offers actionable intelligence through its research, Insights on Affluent Millennials.
  4. Identify the Opportunity in Your Book: Consider creating an organizational chart for each client family and evaluating the strength of each relationship with a goal of building value-based relationships with each family member.
  5. Proactively Develop Relationships: Reach out to spouses and younger family members through family meetings or special events designed to appeal to your target audience.
  6. Know Your Client: Apply the “know your client” rule across your client families by getting to know the values, goals and concerns of the next generation.
  7. Build a Multigenerational Team: Expand your team to include two or three generations to help align your team with the client families you serve.

OppenheimerFunds and Legacy Capitals have strategically joined resources, intellectual capital and shared passion to bring advisors the training and solutions required to successfully serve the multigenerational needs of their high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth client families and thrive in the new competitive multi-generational marketplace.

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1Source: Accenture study via CNBC, 6/16/16.

2Source: “How to Talk to Clients Who Have Just Been Widowed,” InvestmentNews, May 2015.

3Source: InvestmentNews, 7/13/15.