Convincing young UHNWs that they will die someday continues to be a problem

Date: 11 Nov 2015

Bumblebee Design

Joshua Rubenstein, national chair of trusts and estates at Katten Muchin Rosenman, also says that it pays to come up with solutions for UHNW clients that are unique to them, instead of trying to shoehorn them into products.


What are your best tips for developing trust with an UHNW client?

First of all, hear them out fully before dispensing any advice and communicate with them proactively.

What do UHNW clients need to consider deciding to change their wealth manager or adviser?

UHNW clients are unfortunately regularly preyed upon. They should seek referrals from people they trust, and they should ask to speak to referees. They should also interview more than one prospect, as chemistry is as important as credentials. They should also make sure that the adviser’s advice is un-conflicted and that the adviser does not have a financial interest in the particular advice he or she is giving.

How do you deal with younger UHNW clients?

On the one hand, they tend to be very smart, having made so much money so young that they can make decisions on complicated issues quickly and accurately. On the other hand, they may have short attention spans and like to hear things in sound bites so a different approach is needed. On top of this they usually aren’t married so it usually premature to press them into irrevocable structures, the first step is to convince them that they will in fact die someday and need to put their affairs in order.

Have you noticed any shifts in private client work in the past five years?

The major shift is how fast laws, rules, regulations, economics, politics, social mores and science is changing, and how there are no safe harbours within which to give advice any longer. There is now a great premium on flexibility.
Have you needed to broaden your knowledge of different ethnic customs and religious beliefs to win or maintain existing UHNW clients?

Yes. As the wealth of individuals who observe religious as well as secular law has grown exponentially, there is now a premium on at least understanding the constraints within which such individuals need to operate.

What are the best strategies you’ve seen for keeping UHNW clients?

Come up with solutions that are unique to them, as opposed to trying to shoehorn them into products. Also, as more and more families are choosing to operate in private formation as opposed to going public, there is now an unprecedented opportunity for private client lawyers to become consiglieres and to be central to their clients’ business and transactional, as well as personal, activities.