Successful advisors to the ultra-high-net-worth are standardizing some aspects of their operations so advisors can spend more time with clients, says the Family Office Exchange (FOX) in a recent report on advisors to the wealthy.

"Advisors are the scarcest resource in the industry and the biggest detriment to service quality," said David Lincoln, FOX managing director of research. They are also the most expensive part of the operation from a business standpoint, he added.

"The products themselves aren't very different from firm to firm," Lincoln said. "One of the big final frontiers for differentiation is creating a 'service experience,' much like, for example, a consumer receives when shopping in an Apple store."

FOX's study, entitled, Enhancing the Client Experience, found that successful firms are minimizing advisors' tasks so they can spend more face-to-face time with clients, Lincoln said. They're doing so by standardizing operations through technology and training.

"Information on clients needs to entered into a system once and routed to the right places, so all advisors are working from the same up-to-date information," he said. Advisors and other service personnel need to be trained so clients are receiving a high quality of service across offices and among different advisors.

"Client experience, products and services are all commodities," Lincoln said. "What brings a firm a level up is to integrate these commodities so that products and services are well known and ubiquitous across offices and advisors."

Taking such things as meeting planning off the desk of the advisor and creating a template for meetings adds to the efficiency of the firm, he said. Also, such things as determining that all advisors are asking the same questions and gathering the same information from clients can make the firm more efficient.

FOX is a global organization of private investors and wealthy families. Information in the report is based on feedback from multifamily offices and ultra-high-net-worth wealth advisory platforms of large, diversified financial services firms, including traditional private banks and brokerages, according to FOX.

-Karen DeMasters