Attracting and retaining clients II – How to retain your client base

In the first part of our blog series titled “Attracting and retaining clients”, we talked about innovation as a crucial factor in retaining and expanding your client base as a wealth management company and we also listed a few key practices and solutions that allow you to stay innovative and ahead of the market. In this second part, we will look at issues that risk client retention specifically and suggest a few solutions that can help wealth management firms overcome these issues.

The value of client retention

Keeping existing clients should be a top priority for advisors and wealth managers. Not only do they comprise their core account portfolio, but they can also be a valuable source of referrals to generate new business. Nasdaq reports that “70 percent of millionaires are likely to refer other wealthy investors to their primary advisor”. This also works the other way, meaning that if the relationship with a client is not fostered properly, they might be inclined to switch to a referred advisor.

Why do clients leave?

Some obvious answers to the above question would be that, for example, they are looking for better investment performance, or are dissatisfied with the quality of advice, or are simply looking for a broader or different range of products. These are problems that have always been at the back of every advisor’s mind. But what are some less obvious or more recent issues that can be addressed through innovation?

One of the most recent and prevalent problems affecting client retention is digitalisation. We are used to a rich digital experience in many aspects of our lives owing to big tech companies such as Google or Apple. We use streaming services for entertainment, mobility apps to get around, order food on our smartphones and do our daily banking online. Modern investors demand similar experience from their wealth managers. According to a 2021 survey of 2,325 investors conducted by ThoughtLab, 34% of investors who switched providers over the last year did so for a better digital experience and 44% of clients that were dissatisfied with their current digital experience are frustrated that they could not view all their investments in one place.

Many would think that mainly young and mass market investors want digital, but according to ThoughtLab’s survey, “channel preferences are largely the same for millennials and the oldest and richest investors.”

Channel preferred

in the future

UHNW and




Provider’s mobile app 89% 89% 89%
Provider’s website 74% 67% 62%
Virtual conferencing 63% 63% 65%
Face-to-face meetings 41% 47% 46%

Future channel preference of investors (n=2,325; Source: ThoughtLab)

Another myth brought up in the report is that the majority of millennials prefer to do things using digital channels exclusively. However, according to their findings, “34% of millennials interact with primary wealth providers through face-to-face meetings and 46% prefer face-to-face interaction in the future.”

Communication is just as important when we want to maintain a healthy relationship with our clients. In fact, Nasdaq reports that, based on a study by The Spectrem Group, “investors with more than $1 million in investments said they’ve left advisors because of the following reasons:

  • 61 percent left because their advisor didn’t promptly return phone calls
  • 53 percent left because the advisor wasn’t proactive enough about reaching out to the client
  • 46 percent left because the advisor didn’t return emails in a timely manner”

Proactive and frequent client outreach and contact in general is therefore invaluable to keep clients satisfied with the service they receive while also avoiding going overboard and coming off as pushy. The best way to reveal a client’s preferences on communication is by simply asking about them as early as contracting. Preferences can also shift as the scope of a mandate changes so it cannot hurt to revisit them from time to time.

In addition to frequent and valuable communication, wealth management clients also expect personalised services tailored to their needs. After all, most consumers have grown to expect a degree of personalisation in most aspects of their lives. This should not come as a surprise in an age where products and services — everything from car trims to online marketplaces to browser ads — are customised, fine-tuned, and targeted using advanced marketing, sophisticated data technologies and automation. In wealth management, however, these expectations are further amplified, as traditional, boutique wealth management and advisory services have a history of being built around the client and tailored to their specific wishes and financial situation.

Even mass market investment offerings have evolved to be able to identify and align to the individual’s needs using technologies such as AI and machine learning. Although these lower cost services, like robo-advisors, have a long way to go before they can be compared to quality human advice, clients today could quickly switch from traditional advice if they feel that they did not receive the attention or personalisation they paid for.

What can wealth managers do to keep their clients?

Thankfully, there are some innovative solutions to the issues presented above. There are a host of digital solutions that can enrich client experience and promote engagement, but the most important part of a wealth management client’s digital experience is the client-facing portal.

Today, a portal is a must for every wealth manager, as trends already show that the main channel of engagement will heavily shift towards mobile apps in the near future. Clients simply want to be able to view their investment performance, message their RM or view their reports anywhere, anytime. On top of their basic functionality, these apps can offer almost infinite value with added services and technologies, such as in-app professional content, digital onboarding and KYC/AML processes, chatbots, automatic rebalancing, automatic report generation, robo-advisory and other self-service functionalities.

Advisor-facing software solutions with built-in CRM functionality, for example, are a straightforward and effective tool for improving client communication. RMs can set reminders for meetings, calls, emails or even life events like birthdays. More advanced applications have sophisticated notification systems allowing for all kinds of warnings for events such as big changes in portfolio valuation or tailored product recommendations.

Newsletters and professional content can also generate client engagement. For example, Dorsum’s Wealth Portal has a built-in feed for your preferred in-house or third-party content, so that there is always something fresh to talk about during client meetings.

A rich, personalised experience can be used to build loyalty and a feeling of exclusivity in clients. With digital tools that utilise AI, data analytics and automation, personalisation can be taken to the next level to create hyper-personalised services. Wealth managers already have a ton of data about their clients through KYC/AML procedures, but a properly nurtured advisor-client relationship will reveal further details about the client’s life related to family, work, or health. Systems that have the ability to process such data will equip advisors with a complete view of a client’s financial and personal situation, allowing them to offer a market-differentiating and highly tailored service.

Check back for the third and final part of our blog series in which we will look at how wealth managers can use innovation to drive up client acquisitions.


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