Supporting high net worth investors at scale


By 2025, that number is expected to increase by 33% to more than 8.8 million. That growth presents an opportunity to advisors who are prepared to meet the needs of this group of investors.

Preparation is the key. In our research , we’ve been able to deepen the industry’s understanding of what these investors need and expect from their financial advisors. Our findings highlight the critical importance of personalization. HNWIs do not want one-sized-fits-all advice from their advisor—they expect customized plans and white-glove service in just about every way.

This post explains what we believe HNWI are looking for and provides some practical suggestions for how advisors might provide personalization at scale, meeting their clients’ expectations efficiently.

Most HNWI are concerned about fees

First and foremost, our research shows that more than half (59%) of HNWIs don’t plan to hire a financial professional. They prefer to manage their wealth themselves and they feel comfortable in their ability to do so. Many HNWI are self-made millionaires and experienced business people who are confident in their own abilities. When we dig into the data, we can also infer that some of their hesitation to hire a financial professional might be due to fee uncertainty and expectations.

72% of HNWI would expect to pay a financial professional $5,000 or less annually.

Our survey showed that 72% of HNWI would expect to pay a financial professional $5,000 or less annually, which is very different from an advisor who might (realistically) ask for $20,000 on $2 million of assets. The billing model matters too. 64% respondents want fees based on investment performance, service quality, and a pay-as-you-go model. HNWI expect firms to move away from AUM based pricing to more innovative pricing structures.

Keeping those expectations in mind, advisors can use the fact that HNWI tend to be experienced business people to their advantage. The first meeting with a new client is an opportunity to make the business case for the value you provide. Help the client to understand all of the ways you can go beyond investment strategy, supporting their tax, estate planning, credit, and insurance needs as well. Remember that while you may be well-versed in various account types, products, and portfolio management styles, many investors may not have that knowledge. They need straightforward, jargon-free education to understand what investment opportunities are appropriate to meet their personal goals.

Understanding their personal goals is also critically important. As we’ll explore next, HNWI expect a customized experience when they work with a financial professional. One-size-fits-all support will not meet their expectations. Their personal goals matter.

Different types of investors have different needs

To make our research findings more actionable, we segmented the data by generation and by wealth band. Here are some of the key takeaways:

GenerationWhat they are looking for when working with a financial professionalWhy?
Baby BoomersPersonal relationships Clarity Holistic approachLess technology focused More relationship focused
Generation XSecurity Support FlexibilityLarger expenses Larger responsibilities
MillennialsEasy access Collaboration Holistic approachVery engaged Results-oriented
Generation ZEducation Advice based on facts Long-term approachStill learning Skeptical

Across generations, we found that different wealth bands also tend to have different needs.

Wealth bandWhat they may need help with
$30 million +Tax & estate planning Protection (liquidity & volatility)
$5-30 millionTransparency Coordination with 3rd party providers (legal team, CPA, etc.)
$1-5 millionClearly defined approach Real-time collaboration

Providing this level of customized service can be time consuming if you don’t adapt your practice accordingly. It is worth noting that specializing in one type of HNW client may also be a practical approach. Consider if your practice is already well positioned to serve one of these groups and tailor your growth strategy accordingly.

Supporting high net worth investors at scale

We’ve identified four key elements of providing personalized service to HNWI at scale.

  1. Deliver educational support
    All of the groups mentioned above benefit from some financial education. Not only does it improve their understanding of the value you provide, but it also provides ample opportunities to deepen client/advisor relationships.
  2. Include tax management in your value proposition
    HNWI’s tax exposures grow as their wealth grows. As such, these investors need an experienced financial professional to help them to understand their options and to provide advanced services like tax overlays and other tax management services.
  3. Expand your product offerings
    HNWI need advisors who think beyond equity and fixed income. Offer estate planning and retirement planning services for business owners. Become an expert in directing indexing, alternative investments, insurance products, and credit options so that you can holistically address your clients’ financial lives.
  4. Utilize actionable data analysis
    The key here is making data an everyday part of your business. Institutionalize a process for intaking data to build a strong financial plan from the start, identify what data would trigger strategy changes (so changes aren’t triggered by emotions), and establish a cadence for walking the client through their portfolio performance and ensuring alignment with their goals. Keeping client data at your fingertips ensures personalization and prevents one-size-fits-all advice.

When preparing to serve HNW clients, we often suggest a “build it and they will come” mindset. In order to grow that part of your business, you need design your business model to meet the needs of the HNWI. Technology makes this evolution easier than ever before. HNW clients will naturally choose to work with advisors who understand their unique preferences and needs.

For a much deeper dive into what it means to provide personalization at scale, download our white paper at

To learn more about how Envestnet empowers advisors to deliver the Intelligent Financial Life visit

Capgemini Research Institute. "World Wealth Report 2021," Knight Frank Wealth Sizing Model, Oxford Economics


The information, analysis and opinions expressed herein are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views of Envestnet. These views reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of writing and are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing contained in this piece is intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type.


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