Your relationship with your wealth manager
You may believe that working with a wealth manager would be a bit like being consulted by a dentist or physio. In truth, it’s much more comprehensive than that, and this is in part because it’s very much a back-and-forth relationship. It’s not a matter of one-way consulting, nor is it a fixed science, but ongoing cooperation in working towards the client’s goal. This means it requires certain standards and effort from both sides of the party.
Communicating your goals and situation clearly
A financial advisor must make decisions that are within your best interest. The difficulty here is that sometimes the client isn’t acting within their own best interest, making it difficult for the wealth manager to do their job.
The best way to help the wealth manager operate at the best of their ability is for them to know explicitly what is best for you. In other words, what goals you want to achieve.
If they know the goals, then they can better handle any conflict or disagreements in the road to achieving it. The client must remember their own goals at all times, too, which can be difficult as they become distracted with interruptions and obstacles.
Something that we cannot ignore beyond just goal-setting is risk appetite - these are where the wealth manager must take into consideration the psychology of the client. In other words, they can’t use cold-blooded logic alone to optimally achieve the client’s goals, they must take into consideration the client’s emotional weaknesses and psychology in the event of a crash. The way to operationalise this is to simply discover their risk appetite and respect it at all times.
It’s a very common scenario for a client to ring up their wealth manager and demand the liquidation of their investments because the news has frightened them. The feeling of “this time it’s different” in respect to a recession or crash and wanting to limit the damage.
The extent to which you’re exposed in a crash is directly related to the risk profile of your portfolio. So, make sure to really anticipate and judge how you will react in a crash so the wealth manager can accurately assess your risk profile.
It’s also worth pointing out that there is an element of time-frames that it’s important, too. Even if you’re very cool-headed and laid back, if you have mostly 5-year goals, then you cannot have a high-risk profile. It can take years for a portfolio to recover during a deep crash, so the time frame of your goals plays a big role too.
To extend on that last point - ringing up your wealth manager to demand a deviation from the pre-agreed strategy is something that is best avoided where possible. Mostly, we can mitigate this through better communication, goal-setting, and planning as mentioned above. But from then on, it’s down to trust.
It seems counterintuitive to hand over your wealth to someone you don’t fully trust. Most clients do, and the continuation of this trust is important to help the wealth manager best achieve your financial goals. Of course, it works both ways, and the wealth manager will place their trust in you that you’re communicating honestly about your goals, life situations, and risk appetite.
Wealth manager or counsellor?
Something that we cannot deny is that our money and our personal lives are very closely intertwined. Some people are very good at keeping them distinct, others aren’t, but there’s only so much you can separate.
There’s nothing wrong with describing to your wealth manager your personal life - this context is important. It’s important to know if the wealth is shared in a marriage, planning for children, if there’s a divorce on the horizon, and the details of your family business. If you have had an affair with your boss and you think it could result in losing your job at some point, it’s worth mentioning. It may mean foregoing some investments to bolster up your emergency fund.
Upon building a close relationship with the financial advisor, it’s common for the client to open up more in anticipation of more holistic advice or support. Many clients can begin to view this a form of therapy, because they have someone to speak to, feel supported by, and get catharsis from.
Of course, a wealth manager has no right to behave as a counsellor (thuogh, this is a growing trend) and must always ask if wealth and money are still relevant to the conversation, but still with the understanding of how important the client’s life provides context to their financial goals and decisions going forwards.
Ultimately, when outsourcing your wealth management to a third party, it’s for this reason: a professional wealth manager operating at the best of their ability can create more wealth than the client can at the best of their ability. So the key for the client within this relationship is to focus on making it as easy as possible for the wealth manager to operate to the best of their ability. This means being precise, clear, and honest in the communication of their goals, personal life, and risk apprehensions - as well as being consistent in their trust.
As for the wealth advisor, empathy and honesty are required. Whilst they’re not counsellors, a certain level of emotional intelligence and understanding is required, along with their own trust in the client that the communication has an honest foundation. The benefit the wealth manager has over the client is that it’s not their money they’re investing with. Believe it or not, this is one of the most important factors in their success - it helps remove personal and emotional bias when working objectively towards a goal.
To build a healthy relationship with a wealth manager that will work with you honestly, get in touch with a Moneytree Wealth Management advisor. Moneytree Wealth Management provides expert advice and guidance on growing wealth and income through efficient financial planning.