From the outside, various wealth management businesses may appear to be the same—they are all fiduciaries who want to do the best for their customers. However, when you check under the hood, they are completely different. We believe that there are three types of wealth management firms: product vendors, customized traders, and planners/coaches.
Some businesses are hybrids of some kind, but in our experience, this taxonomy goes a great way toward understanding how businesses are formed, how they compete, how they portray themselves to clients, and the real nature of the business. Here’s a quick rundown of each:
Goods and Products Vendors
These companies take pleasure in having access to high-quality products. They encourage this access and try to offer market-beating performance to their clientele. Client meetings are focused on portfolio performance and product selection; underperformance of any particular product leads to the selection of an alternative.
Product vendors place little emphasis on tax management and customization since it interferes with clear performance figures (other than product selection).
The advisor’s main message to investors is that the advisor is a resource for identifying the best-performing assets. Product sellers have a straightforward message that is simple to market. It is like a private banking wealth management service where bankers offer their products to customers.
Personalized Traders Portfolio management is approached by these businesses one trade at a time. They take pleasure in being able to describe each trade in detail. Clients may be advised on critical portfolio trading choices, even in discretionary accounts. Every portfolio is distinct because it has a distinct history. The advisors are not interested in goods in and of themselves, but they feel that their security-level judgments will enhance performance. The primary message of the advisor is that they are there to assist customers in making better trading selections.
Customized Traders cultivate strong connections with their clientele, but marketing can be difficult since Customized Traders struggle to define and offer a consistent service.
Wealth Planners and Coaches
These businesses see their core function as advising customers on better financial decisions and increasing their chances of reaching their objectives.
Because it is not their main competency, they are willing to entrust stock picking, active asset allocation, and rebalancing to professionals.
Planners and coaches prefer low-cost and tax-efficient investments because they are less convinced of the benefits of active management, and it is more vital not to underperform benchmarks than it is to beat them.
Performance is still essential, but mostly in terms of whether the client is fulfilling their objectives.
There is no one ideal sort of business to be. From a private bank account to product and services management, these firms deal in every aspect of wealth management.
And businesses may evolve. We observe a trend of Product Vendors and Customized Traders transitioning into Planner/Coaches across the board.
It is, however, not a simple adjustment. It generally necessitates the installation of new systems, but that is only the beginning.