IFAs must adapt urgently their proposals for high net worth clients to keep pace with an evolving market, according to David Thompson, managing director of Winterthur.
Speaking during the investment firm’s ‘A Wealth of High Net Worth Expertise’ roadshow, Thompson says competition is mounting fast from wealth managers, bancassurers and private banks.
He stressed the importance of offering a proposition encompassing will writing and investments, as well as IHT, retirement and tax planning, in order to fully service the needs of high net worth clients.
He says this must also be backed with a high level of customer service and a flexible investment offering.
In addition, Thompson pinpointed a “significant behavioural change” that has seen an increase in the number of high net worth individuals who are self-directed when it comes to making financial decisions.
He says: “The high net worth market is experiencing significant growth – up 10% last year with a further 10% growth expected this year.
“This must be a huge market for advisers to penetrate, with clients typically cash rich, time poor.
“With an average age of 55, this group is the fastest growing sector of the UK population and it controls 80% of wealth.”
Thompson outlined Winterthur’s plans to meet the changing environment, saying: “Our priorities going forward will be to expand our presence and product portfolio and build on our service proposition and technological resources.
“This is an exciting time of change and we are ready to lead the way forward in the high net worth market.”
During the nationwide roadshow Thompson also identified Winterthur's target market as spanning 'mass affluent' individuals possessing at least £100,000 investable assets, with the core being 'high net worth' with over £250,000 in investable assets.
He went on to emphasise Winterthur's growing presence in the high net worth market, revealing a 55% increase in its high net worth advisers in 2006 from 2005 and outlining a further 35% targeted growth for 2006-2007.
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