At the 2023 Symmetry Summit, one of the most popular sessions was a special panel about “How Advisors Are Winning and Serving High-Net-Worth Clients.” Moderated by Symmetry’s Senior Reginal Director Greg Trzaski, and featuring three successful Financial Advisors, the panel discussed best practices, challenges, and opportunities in the HNW arena.
Panelist Brian Cote, Founding Partner, Gramercy Park Wealth Advisors, focused on the importance of fundamentals. “[Building] relationships makes all the difference,” he stressed. “Communication and getting in front of the right people.”
Panelist Kelley Grace, CPA, Wealth Advisor and Partner, Eide Bailly Wealth, spoke about her experience working at a large accounting firm with a built-in client base, which creates a lot of “low-hanging fruit.” She has spent time with CPAs and recognized that all of the firm’s HNW clients have come from tax partners.
Panelist Mira Ma, Founder and Principal of Marim Wealth Planning, LLC, said her RIA firm’s Silicon Valley base naturally puts her in touch with executives with concentrated stock options. She works with many dual-income households and HNW clientele with stock options and real estate equity.
Mira added that one of her firm’s differentiators is extensive tax planning. “We have multiple meetings throughout the year,” she explained.
Each of the panelists has developed deep relationships with clients and centers of influence (COIs).
“Seek successful businesses—research people and their needs and work on getting introductions,” advised Brian. The key is to build relationships around clients, such as tax attorneys.
Kelley also emphasized the importance of making connections versus asking for introductions. “We don’t want a referral; we want a relationship,” she said.
Through the relationships she’s created with Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), she has been able to be involved with tax planning for existing clients, sitting in on meetings, and earning clients’ trust.
Marim Wealth Management takes a similar approach. “We don’t ask for referrals,” Mira admitted. Instead, her firm has a large network of certified financial planners and CPAs, and they get a lot of referrals from clients or other financial planners who don’t do exactly what her firm does. That’s where having a differentiator helps.
Mira has a background in taxes and real estate, which enables her firm to advise about real estate purchases and equity—something not all financial advisors are knowledgeable about. “We bridge the gap between investment managers and tax preparers,” she explained.
In terms of Symmetry as a COI, the panelists all had good experiences to speak about.
Greg noted how Symmetry can provide “white glove service,”. However, Symmetry can also effectively work in the background. It’s up to what an Advisor wants and needs.
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