Emotions, Legacy And Saying ‘No.’ – How To Support UHNW Clients

Leaders At Dynasty Affiliates Who Serve UHNW Clients Describe Their Unique Needs And How To Meet Them
Matthew Celenza, Founder And Managing Partner, Boulevard Family Wealth; Katherine Forrester Schneewind, Founder And CEO, High Note Wealth; Jerry R. Sneed, Senior Vice President, Senior Private Wealth Advisor, Procyon Partners
Matthew Celenza, Founder And Managing Partner, Boulevard Family Wealth; Katherine Forrester Schneewind, Founder And CEO, High Note Wealth; Jerry R. Sneed, Senior Vice President, Senior Private Wealth Advisor, Procyon Partners

Ultra-high net worth (UHNW) clients aren’t just larger in account and investment size – they often have unique needs that differ from other clients in the areas of psychology, philanthropy, legacy, gatekeeping and balance sheet management. Serving this clientele requires not just a quantitatively – but a qualitatively – different approach from their financial advisors.

To dive deeper into the needs and approach for UHNW clients, we spoke with the following experts at affiliates of Dynasty Financial Partners: Jerry R. Sneed, Senior Vice President, Senior Private Wealth Advisor at Procyon Partners; Matthew Celenza, Founder and Managing Partner, Boulevard Family Wealth; and Katherine Forrester Schneewind, Founder And CEO, High Note Wealth.

We asked each of them: What unique needs do you see in serving UHNW clientele and how does an advisor meet those needs? How do those needs fit into the clients’ overall financial strategies?

Their responses follow.

Katherine Forrester Schneewind, Founder And CEO, High Note Wealth

Katherine Forrester Schneewind, Founder & CEO, High Note Wealth
Katherine Forrester Schneewind, Founder & CEO, High Note Wealth

Advising UHNW clients can involve navigating complex financial landscapes with sensitivity and foresight. These individuals face unique challenges that intertwine their wealth with personal values, family dynamics, business interests and long-term vision. We serve as emotional anchors and strategic partners, providing tailored legacy and business planning, and facilitating philanthropic pursuits that resonate with our clients.

Our role extends beyond just financial management to include psychological support. UHNW clients’ decisions can impact not just their portfolios, but also their relationships with family, friends and business associates. We offer a safe space for these difficult discussions, ensuring emotional considerations are weighed with financial implications. This delicate balance is crucial for achieving consensus, advancing complex agreements and closing deals.

By proactively anticipating and addressing these multifaceted needs, we strive for UHNW clients’ wealth strategies to not only be successful but also meaningful. We act as accountability partners, guiding clients through the emotional journey of wealth stewardship, and ensuring that their legacy endures and aligns with their deepest convictions. In this way, advisors don’t just manage wealth – we nurture the personal aspirations intertwined with it, crafting a legacy that lasts beyond a lifetime.

Matthew Celenza, Founder And Managing Partner, Boulevard Family Wealth

Matthew Celenza, Founder & Managing Partner, Boulevard Family Wealth
Matthew Celenza, Founder & Managing Partner, Boulevard Family Wealth

Serving UHNW clientele requires understanding of their life “balance sheet,” their psychological relationship with money and connection to family – it extends well beyond financial advice.

Key areas of focus include preserving family legacy and wealth transfer, managing emotional stress, leveraging the freedom that comes with significant wealth, and sophisticated balance sheet management.

Family legacy and wealth transfer: UHNW clients prioritize enhancing their family legacy and passing wealth to future generations. Advisors assist with estate plans, family trusts and philanthropic endeavors that reflect family values. They design strategies to minimize tax implications and protect assets, utilizing advanced trusts, gifting strategies and life insurance for secure wealth transfer.

Emotional regulation: The complexities of significant wealth can lead to stress. Advisors simplify financial affairs and provide clear guidance to reduce anxiety. Regular communication across clients’ advisors, comprehensive reporting and proactive planning help manage emotional stress. Access to family governance experts and wealth psychologists further supports clients.

Collateral and cash flow management: UHNW families, given their asset magnitude, can function as their own banks. Advisors guide clients in optimizing liquidity and ensuring robust cash flow for lifestyle expenses. Efficient debt structuring, strategic asset management and accurate cash forecasting maintain financial flexibility and stability.

Freedom of wealth: Significant wealth allows clients to manage taxation, direct philanthropy and make impact investments. Advisors craft tax-efficient strategies, advise on charitable giving aligned with personal values, and identify impact investments that provide control and returns. This enables UHNW clients to leverage their wealth for personal satisfaction and societal benefit.

By addressing these needs, advisors help UHNW clients integrate their financial strategies into a cohesive plan that supports broader life goals, ensures legacy continuity and enhances overall well-being.

Jerry R. Sneed, Senior Vice President, Senior Private Wealth Advisor, Procyon Partners

Jerry R. Sneed, SVP, Senior Private Wealth Advisor, Procyon Partners
Jerry R. Sneed, SVP, Senior Private Wealth Advisor, Procyon Partners

UHNW clients have distinct needs, primarily the requirement for a knowledgeable advisor capable of critically evaluating numerous investment opportunities and proposals. These individuals are often inundated with various ideas, products and investment opportunities due to their wealth. Therefore, a crucial role of the advisor is to act as a gatekeeper, saying “no” when necessary. This involves quickly and accurately assessing the intrinsic value of an opportunity, considering both its immediate and long-term effects on the client’s overall financial strategy.

An advisor meets these needs by leveraging their extensive experience and education to discern the quality and potential of each proposal. They must provide swift, intelligent feedback, protecting the client from potentially detrimental investments. As Howard Marks said, “Missing a profitable opportunity is far less significant than investing in a loser.” This perspective emphasizes the importance of cautious and informed decision-making. It not only preserves the client’s wealth but also aligns with their broader financial goals, ensuring that each decision supports their long-term financial stability and growth.

However, the advisor cannot just say no for the sake of saying no – they need to hold themselves accountable for their decisions. It is their responsibility to stay educated and informed on various topics and products to ensure they make the correct decisions.

Effective management and strategic planning require a balance between seizing profitable opportunities and avoiding those that pose unnecessary risks. By having an advisor who can critically evaluate and filter opportunities, UHNW clients can focus on investments that truly enhance their portfolio, maintaining and growing their wealth sustainably. Thus, the advisor’s role in saying “no” when appropriate is integral to the client’s financial success.

Michael Madden, Contributing Editor and Research Analyst at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at mmadden@wealthsolutionsreport.com.

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