Financial services providers are feeling greater pressure than ever before to acquire new clients and new assets in the quest for profitability, an important metric for analysts and shareholders. To accomplish these goals, advisors and their firms must think beyond the scope of their core competency-whether it's brokerage, investment management, life insurance, estate planning or tax preparation-and begin to think like a marketer. It will take a creative approach for one advisor to differentiate him or herself from another advisor, and even more innovative solutions to expand the reach of business development efforts while increasing the servicing capabilities available to a high-net-worth client.

As wealthy clients increasingly turn to their wealth managers to coordinate and deliver a wide range of personal and financial services, many advisors are realizing that a partnership with a lifestyle management and concierge firm can greatly enhance their reputation as a full-service provider, as well as their chances to surprise clients by exceeding expectations. A successful partnership between a financial firm and a concierge services provider is based on a mutual understanding of one another's expertise, business goals and client relationships. This allows for a responsive collaboration focused on creating the optimal client experience and the ability to develop customized programs that support business objectives.

Concierge services can include a broad range of activities and often require a specific network of carefully cultivated personal contacts to get things done. As such, many advisors choose to outsource this part of their platform and draw on the expertise and experience of lifestyle professionals. A partnership with a concierge provider can deliver the following benefits to an advisory business:

Enhanced Client Relationships

Client research continues to show that a major component of satisfaction is the quality of the personal relationship between an advisor and a client. When a relationship is strong, a client won't hesitate to ask their trusted advisor for assistance with things that may not fit squarely within an advisory mandate, such as tickets to a sporting event. When an advisor can deliver on those requests, it reinforces the breadth of the advisor's professional resources and ability to add value. Conversely, by offering a broader range of services, especially those that are more personal, such as tee times at a private golf club or tickets to a sold out concert, the relationships become multifaceted and have something else on which to grow.


Maximization Of Core Business

Wealth managers know that surrounding themselves with a team of specialists is the key to delivering the comprehensive services at the highest levels of execution that their wealthy clients need-and adding a concierge services provider to the mix takes the team to a higher level. Having one concierge services provider as part of the over all team allows advisors to stay focused on their core business of acquiring and serving wealthy clients. When a lifestyle firm has regular interaction with an advisory team and its clients, it becomes easier for them to plan exceptional client appreciation events, to anticipate demands, to spot unique service opportunities, and to propose changes that may suit a business and its clients better and may lead to stronger, reciprocal relationships.


Client Profiling And Database Management

The best advisors are those who have extremely broad and deep knowledge of their clients. This insight allows them to see opportunities for growth and problems that require attention. It also gives them facts on which to build the personal bond that factors in to all successful client relationships. Concierges keep detailed records of all client requests and transactions; this database can give an advisor access to data they may not be able to gather themselves, such as a unique understanding of their clients' preferences and some perspective on the activities that their clients choose to participate in for social, personal or business purposes. In addition to building an advisor's awareness of an individual client, this information can be used to tailor events, programs or gifts in ways that most closely match a client's level of interest. Customized service is an expectation of ultra-affluent clients, and the advisors that can deliver will be rewarded for their efforts with loyalty and more assets.


Business Entertaining

Business entertaining and client appreciation are mandatory parts of a relationship-driven business. As a result, events must be innovative and unique to pique the interest of a wealthy client, and the experience must be spectacular to leave an impression. Intimate events can also be structured to create a friendly and pressure-free environment that will facilitate relationship expansion and client acquisition. A thoughtful and well-executed event can have a positive impact on an advisor-client relationship, but an average event or one with logistical issues can leave a lingering negative memory that may be difficult to overcome. It pays to turn to a professional lifestyle management firm to ensure that client hospitality events are of the highest quality and their growth potential can be maximized. A concierge may also be able to put you in touch with other firms with ultra-wealthy clients, such as luxury brands or auction houses, to explore cooperative entertainment and prospecting efforts.


Competitive Edge

Simply put, advisors need ways to distinguish themselves from their competitors, and offering a suite of products and services that go beyond the typical financial fare is one step in the right direction. Increasingly, the stiffest competition for high-net-worth business is coming from the family office segment. In addition to sophisticated investment options, they offer a host of services including tax and estate planning, administrative operations, philanthropic support and lifestyle management-a very compelling proposition to a wealthy individual or family that wants high-touch, high-quality service. A seasoned lifestyle management company can bring an extraordinary amount of expertise, resources, infrastructure and key relationships to a partnership-most likely at levels that exceed the capabilities of the typical multifamily office or private bank. Subsequently, advisors that have a concierge provider on their wealth management team will have a distinct advantage over those practitioners and firms that do not.


Financial advisors have some big challenges in front of them-client retention, relationship expansion, client profitability enhancement and new client acquisition, not to mention managing a business and servicing clients. Concierge providers can play an important role in helping advisors in their quest to set themselves apart from the competition, to have deeper and more insightful relationships with their clients, to deliver meaningful hospitality experiences and to send a constant message to their customer base that they are valued and appreciated.


Dominic Roncace is the president, chief operating officer and managing partner of Luxury Attaché, a New York-based lifestyle management firm for affluent individuals and corporations.