PAM Guide to Wealth Management

Establishing a relationship with a private wealth adviser

Establishing and building trust is key to a relationship with a private wealth adviser, whatever their profession and specialism.

When selecting an adviser, it is crucial that they have the right skills, experience and qualifications to meet your needs, but it is also important to take personal chemistry into account. Is this somebody you can trust with your wealth and personal information? Can you see yourself working with them for years to come on decisions that will impact on you and your family?

In order to establish a relationship, you need to fully understand what an adviser can offer. The adviser should explain the services he or she will provide and the extent and limits of his competence and responsibilities. It is particularly important to establish the services that the wealth manager will not advise on. Advisers tend to be better at telling their clients what they can do, rather than what they cannot offer. You don't want someone to be learning on the job. You should agree on how the adviser will be paid and the way in which fees will be calculated. Part of the discussion should focus on how long you want or expect the relationship to last and how decisions about your finances will be made.

The goal for any private wealth adviser is to become their clients' trusted adviser, that is to say the professional that the client turns to for a range of advice, be it financial or on personal affairs such as school placements or family relationships. Although the adviser may not be an expert in a specific area, your should expect them to have enough of an understanding and a good enough network of contacts to be able to bring in a relevant professional to meet any specific need you may have.

In order to reach this status as trusted adviser, it obvious that an adviser must know their client extremely well, and vice versa. It can take years for this level of trust to be built. It is not unknown for an adviser to start working on a small element of a client's affairs and for this to develop, as the relationship builds and the client becomes more comfortable with the adviser.

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