International clients with no UK connection seek to manage their wealth in London

Date: 11 Nov 2015

Bumblebee Design

Sara Maccallum, senior partner at Boodle Hatfield, says incorporating a team member of the same generation helps when working with younger UHNW’s.

What are your three best tips for developing trust with UHNW clients?

Be honest with what is achievable and when. Be transparent on fees and bill regularly. Communicate, communicate, communicate and make sure you engage with the client’s other advisers openly and collaboratively.

What do UHNW clients need to watch out for when deciding to change their wealth manager or adviser?

A recommendation from another of the client’s trusted advisers is often the best way forward. Also ensuring that the client has identified the reasons for the change and making sure that the new adviser or manager can meet those requirements. It may sound trite but having a clear focus on what is essential can ease the selection process. Meeting two or three potential new advisers or managers in person where possible is very important, particularly when dealing with personal wealth matters. If the client feels he or she has ‘connected’ with the adviser, this can really help establish a firm and trusting relationship.

How do you deal with younger UHNW clients?

Each generation tends to have its own objectives and concerns though it is important not to generalise or make assumptions. Baby boomers aren’t all free-thinkers. The younger UHNW clients are, by nature, usually not so concerned with succession planning but the same principal areas to consider apply to all clients: asset protection, divorce, confidentiality to name a few. If you can incorporate a team member of the same generation that often helps.

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

We are acting for more entrepreneurs than ever before and they are often internationally mobile which results in complex cross-border planning. We are also finding an increasing number of international clients, often with no UK connection, wanting their structuring to be centred and co-ordinated from London.

Have you needed to broaden your knowledge of different ethnic customs and religious beliefs to win or maintain existing UHNW clients?

Certainly, our client base has broadened over time and it is important to have an understanding of clients’ cultural and religious backgrounds both in regard to technical advice in the case of areas like Sharia compliance. It is important also to understand how to approach certain issues such as succession in a family business. We would want to ensure we have thought through complications before dealing with a new client or pitching for business. We regularly share experiences across the firm in our dealings so that we can learn from each other.

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

It’s good to have a member of the team always available to the client and to produce advice that starts with a high-level summary before delving into the inevitable complex detail. It’s important to efficiently co-ordinating advice across multiple jurisdictions so the client only has to liaise with one adviser. It also helps prevent issues falling through the net. Finally to appreciate that running alongside the client’s complex tax and financial affairs, they have a personal life that will often take priority.

What do you wish to add?
This is a fast moving and interesting world to do business in. Technical competence is as ever critical but remembering we are very much in a people business and the ability to just “get on with” clients and their teams is helpful.