Mike Taylor

Australian high-net-worth clients want to retain a fair degree of control over both their wealth and the manner in which it is invested, according to new research released this week by Brisbane-based firm Goodman Private Wealth Advisers.

The research, undertaken by the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Non-profit Studies (CPNS) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), found that while high-net-worth investors were prepared to obtain the advice of specialists such as financial advisers, they nonetheless wanted to remain in control.

The study found that the personal and financial needs of high-net-worth individuals were complex and therefore needed to be met by a range of financial advisers and planners, private bankers, investment advisers, stockbrokers and tax and estate lawyers.

It found that while clients expected advisers’ financial and investment knowledge to be greater than their own, they also sought advisers who were genuinely interested in helping them and expressed a need for education to increase their own understanding and knowledge.

The broad findings of the research were that:

1. high-net-worth individuals like to take responsibility for their financial affairs and like to maintain control, although their level of involvement may drop as they age;

2. they do not want to be told what to do, preferring to obtain expert input and guidance for their own decision making;

3. high-net-worth individuals are looking for advisory services that:

* offer what they don’t know or can’t access quickly or cost-effectively;

* put client needs and circumstances first. Active listening, responsiveness, and taking the time necessary to build a strong relationship are all critical components;

* deliver value for money. They did not mind so much paying for great service, but the real value to them had to be very clear.

4. few were organised in their approach to charitable giving despite making donations and awareness of philanthropic options and benefits was low;

5. there was a need for wealth management advice and services from a family perspective, including intergenerational wealth preservation, ageing and aged care and philanthropy while maintaining family values and connections despite geographic spread; and

6. there was interest in the benefits of philanthropy to wealthy families as well as to the charities that needed funds.