My team and I work with a lot of high net-worth families. These are people who have over $2.5 million dollars in assets to invest, though this can vary from client to client. There’s usually a lot of complexity in their situation – it’s often changing and very dynamic. For our work to have continuity, it’s important that our clients build a strong team of advisors who are highly capable and have succession.
Given the complexities of our clients’ financial interests, I don’t think it’s wise for me to work with one person alone. It makes sense, both to my clients and to me, to have at least two financial advisors who know all about them, including their goals for the future.
This gives our clients confidence that if I’m away, there’s someone at Viridian who can actually follow through on their actions. There is also continuity – they don’t need to go and brief somebody else about their whole situation. If a client has a large and very complex investment structure with us, we want to make sure that there is always someone who can step in with an understanding of that structure and that the client is comfortable with that.
For example, in my team I work with another advisor, James Walker. Together we assess who is the best fit for the client. We also have a team of around 10 people that support us internally – they may contact clients and develop a relationship with them as well. I encourage this because it’s good for our clients to become acquainted with everyone who works for them. I believe this gives my clients the best experience from their financial planners.
Being able to provide a diverse range of skills is also important from a cost perspective. We also partner with a range of professionals at the top of their game like accountants, private bankers and lawyers. We work closely together and build a cross-functional team. There are no egos involved – we’re building trust with the client as a team, so that they feel confident to work with any one of us.
However, some of them may charge very high hourly rates, which is common in this space. By working with a range of advisors who offer different rates it can often be more economical for the client.
It’s smart to build succession into a team and to know that the team is growing and building new relationships. A good succession plan also drives good outcomes for the client, which in turn drives more client referrals for Viridian. This allows us to keep building a diverse team that can continue to look after our clients for generations.
Virginnia Hottes is an Executive Advisor at Viridian Advisory
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