We make a living by what we get, We make a life by what we give.

Winston Churchill

Articles and opinion

Ultra-high-net-worth clients – Three dos and three don’ts

In a Citywealth Mentors presentation to professional advisers in the private wealth sector, on 17 November, Rosalyn Breedy of Forsters Solicitors highlighted the keys to success in working with ultra-wealthy clients:

Do be unfailingly courteous

This should go without saying, but in an age of internet informality, it can sometimes be forgotten. Always check and use the correct titles and forms of address, both when speaking and writing. A good reference book is Titles and Forms of Address - A Guide to Correct Use, published by Bloomsbury.

Do listen attentively

Be polite, punctual, low key and listen carefully. All clients prefer advisers who genuinely want to help them, treat them like individuals and make an effort to understand their specific needs. Do not assume anything. Family dynamics may be complex, so take care to ensure that you understand relationships and motivations.

Do stick to your principles

Finally, maintain your own boundaries, values and integrity – never be afraid to be fired for refusing to do something you are uncomfortable with. As a trusted adviser, you have obligations to others and your client’s reputation to protect.

Don’t step over the line

However tempting it may be - don't drop a client’s name, use it for credentials or publicity purposes or enable others to do so. Don’t take selfies, ask for their autograph, borrow the classic car or ask for free tickets etc

Don’t make assumptions

Too many advisers come unstuck because they mistakenly believe that wealthy clients are not careful with their money, yet carefulness with money is one of the reasons behind their success. Don’t be misled by a tatty jumper and battered landrover!

Don’t just leave them to it

Don’t expect that simply giving advice will be enough. The ultra-wealthy are busy and may also need help with implementation of agreed plans, ranging from tasks such as account administration to communicating with family members. You should also consider providing a bible of key documents that their staff can work from.

Do remember that earning the trust of discerning clients takes time and effort. And don’t forget the maxim that it takes a lifetime to build a reputation, but just a moment to lose it.