High-net-worth clients are—for a large percentage of wealth managers—ideal. They often have extensive financial needs and wants, and they are usually willing to pay well for high-quality advice and the appropriate financial products. However, becoming economically successful by concentrating on the affluent is growing harder for many wealth managers.

A number of trends are impacting the world of wealth managers who are focused on cultivating the affluent. It is important to be aware that these trends are structural and, consequently, unavoidable:

1. Wealth management services are becoming ever more commoditized. Wealth management services—from money management to most of wealth planning—are increasingly commodities. This means that, in principle, all reasonably capable wealth managers can deliver the same array of prospectively high-caliber services and products.

While all wealth managers are therefore fungible, this does not mean that some are not superior. Without question, some wealth managers are certainly more adept and capable than others. They are able to build exceptional rapport and develop a better understanding of their clients, resulting in them being able to deliver superior results. Therefore, in order to succeed in cultivating the affluent, much more than a “me too” approach is required.

2. Relatively few wealth managers are business savvy, and many are actually getting worse in this regard. A large number of wealth managers are technical authorities first—and last. With increased competition, many of these professionals are concentrating more on refining their technical proficiencies instead of approaching their practices as profit-making enterprises. It is precisely the wrong response to the problem, but for most, it is all they know.

Astounding investment professionals, for example, without a well-run supportive business structure, are usually ineffective. Because of the hyper-competition for the wealthy and the growing commoditization of services and products, wealth managers who fail to elevate their business acumen will be seriously hampered in becoming meaningfully successful.

3. There will be a greater concentration of success among fewer and fewer wealth managers. Wealth managers are facing an intensifying “winner-take-most” business environment. While the majority of them will be able to make a respectable living, a decreasing percentage will do exceptionally well.

The trend proves advantageous for those professionals who can rise above their competitors, as they will likely geometrically become personally wealthier. Fewer wealth managers reaching higher levels of accomplishment are those inclined to adopt and implement high-value practice models. These wealth managers are the ones who will most probably effectively and profitably set themselves apart from their peers.

Wealth managers who can recognize these trends and their practice implications, and who are able to capitalize on them, are very likely to become quite affluent in their own right. The likely reality is that only a relatively small proportion of wealth managers are going to be able to benefit from these and related trends.

Russ Alan Prince, president of R.A. Prince & Associates, is a consultant to family offices, the ultra-wealthy and select professionals.