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October 21, 2019updated 19 Oct 2019 11:09am

Thought about client service? Here’s an HNWI’s opinion

By Hannah Smith

Supplementing last week’s special report, ‘How superior client service can attract and retain HNWIs of the future‘, Hannah Smith interviews one HNWI on his experience with client service.

John (not his real name) is an entrepreneur who has set up, grown and sold four different businesses and considers himself a cash-rich, time-poor businessman. His wealth manager looks after John’s personal wealth, held in unit trusts, pensions and ISAs, but also helps him with occasional business-related questions. He likes the frequency of contact with his wealth manager, including regular reviews, reminder letters, knowing he is available at the end of the phone when needed, and a consistent service. “When we were a very small business but he looked after us really well, he treated us the same as his larger customers. As time went on and I earnt more, I had more to invest, and he gave the same level of service consistently.”

John is also a ‘premier’ customer of a big high street bank but says, despite VIP perks such as a concierge for hard-to-get event tickets, overall the service falls short of what he gets from his wealth manager. “When you have a certain amount of net worth you’re supposed to have a personal manager at the bank who looks after you, but you can never get hold of the guy. All they’re trying to do is sell you something else, whether it’s relevant for you or not, they’re just trying to meet their targets. So I’ve had two very different experiences – with the bank it’s been rubbish but with the wealth manager it’s been brilliant. It’s definitely about the customer service.”

Despite VIP perks such as a concierge for hard-to-get event tickets, overall the service falls short of what he gets from his wealth manager

Would he pay more or accept lower returns for his wealth manager’s service? “If the price was increased by a reasonable amount I’d be fine with it as I genuinely couldn’t ask much more of them really.” And what would make him go elsewhere? “For me, personally, the thing I can’t stand is when you can’t get hold of people. [Smart home product provider] Nest answers the phone, comes back to you straight away and gets the problem sorted, and I value that. So if my wealth manager suddenly stopped answering the phone or I had to start chasing everything, I would look elsewhere.”

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