I have just read KPMG’s Swiss Financial Services Newsletter for August 2008. The newsletter provides very sharp insights into the increasingly complex international needs of high net worth individuals. The outcome is that the consulting team will need to have a greater global outlook and more sophisticated approach to the technical and human issues impacting the HNWI client.
Some of the key trends driving the changes in how HNWI’s need to be serviced are:
- Investments of HNWI’s are continuing to become more global and diversified
- Stronger demand for superior life quality resulting in lifestyles taking on a growing international flavor
- Family members living and working internationally away from the home base
- HNWI’s want their consultants to play a collaborative role – working with them, not for them
- Demand for a higher set of values including ethically correct behavior, social recognition and reputation
Specifically for the consultant this will mean their service model needs to meet the following requirements for the HNWI:
- Capability to deal with many different legal and tax jurisdictions, which means increased complexity and recognition of cross border issues
- A personal approach and outlook which is cross cultural and able to adapt to diverse human requirements
- Focus on comprehensive, customized solutions with a holistic perspective that take into account the concerns of the HNWI, short and long term goals in life and multi-generational family issues
- Clearly understand their vision and be able to anticipate their unique needs
- Understand them in the context of a larger relationship which encompasses both family and business matters
- Provide a single point of contact with access and the ability to coordinate a worldwide, comprehensive network of professionals
- Be free from conflicts of interest and exercise absolute independence
- Innovatively deliver and implement best in breed solutions
- Have systems that assure complete security and confidentiality
- Provide the reliability of a recognized brand name
I definitely believe this is the new world order for HNWI services. Very few can do it individually. Great collaboration will be needed to be successful.
Personally, over the past 10 years my approach to this has been to play the role of “brains trust” to HNWI’s by firstly understanding who they are at a deep level. Then as part of this role, be the independent sounding board to deal with the complex issues and bring in the right specialists as and when needed.