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4 Reasons an Independent Wealth Manager Is the Only Choice for Ultra-High Net Worth Investors

See What Big Wall Street Firms Can Never Deliver – and That You Need Most

As an ultra-high net worth investor, you need much more service than simple money management from your wealth manager or financial advisor. Depending on how long you’ve possessed the high net worth that sets you apart from the vast majority of people, you may or may not remember what it’s like to only have $100,000 (or less) to your name.

At Pillar Wealth Management, we understand the position you’re in, and why your choice of financial advisor is so important. For thirty years, we’ve been protecting wealth for affluent families with high net worth ranging from $5 million up to $500 million.

Other people, like those with $100,000 or less, don’t have to wonder if their money will last through their retirement. They already know it won’t. They’ll have to figure out a way to stretch what they have, earn some extra income somehow, move in with someone else, or find government subsidized housing if it comes to that.

We know you don’t have to worry about running out of money during retirement, but you face other challenges. You face a set of challenges that cannot be met by a fresh-faced financial advisor from a big brokerage firm just taking the procedures and language that have been fed to him by his new bosses, and regurgitating it for you.

That’s not even wealth management, let alone independent wealth management. That’s you, your high net worth portfolio, and your highly unique life and financial situation being plugged into form fields, flowcharts, and fill-in-the-blanks.

Let’s put it in different terms:

If you were in the middle of your first meeting at a big bank or brokerage firm, and the power went out, your ‘advisor’ would probably freeze, stare at his or her suddenly dark computer screen, wonder what to say, and reschedule the meeting.

An independent wealth manager could just whip out a notebook and shift the conversation until the power came back on, if ever. No sweat. We know this terrain. Technology serves us. We don’t serve it. Try us out and schedule a call – even if the power goes out. 

Financial advisors at large firms are dependent on procedures, recommendations, company policies, and technology they didn’t come up with. They do not customize anything for you. They fit you into their systems and their boxes.

At independent wealth management firms, like Pillar, you can expect a customized approach. Not only did we write the book on protecting ultra-high net worth portfolios, we offer a free, no-strings-attached consultation with a member of our team to get the conversation started.

Financial Advisor Fremont

Large Firms Can’t Deliver Customized Ultra-High Net Worth Wealth Management

When you’re choosing the best financial advisor for you, consider the differences between large firms and smaller, independent ones. You’re looking for a wealth manager that will improve your portfolio performance and help you meet your financial goals.

That’s not the only way that large firms fall short for ultra-high net worth clients. There are four other ways you won’t find what you need with non-independent big bank advisors.

  1. Can’t Get Unconflicted Advice

Their first priority is to their shareholders, their sales goals, their revenue targets. Therefore, if a financial advisor from a big firm recommends a particular mutual fund, investment plan, or product, you cannot know what else is behind that recommendation.

Does it have higher fees? Will it cost you more in taxes? Does its risk profile serve your long term lifestyle and wealth management goals?

Because the person you’re speaking with is not the ‘brains’ of the organization but merely a subordinate, you cannot know, and they cannot tell you even if they know (which they probably do not) if the financial advice they’re giving you is solely in your best interests.

In other words, large firms have another agenda. They are not in the business of maximizing your investment performance and building a plan that seeks to surpass all your long term financial and lifestyle goals.

They’re in business for themselves, and your money gets to go along for the ride. You’ll have some good years and some bad years. Their advice during bad times? Stay the course because the market always goes up over time. That’s about the best they can offer you.

As an ultra-high net worth investor, you deserve better. If you agree, read on or reach out to schedule a chat with one of our financial experts.

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  1. Can’t Accommodate Your Unique Needs

You have a different set of needs than a typical investor.

You may have multiple income streams, from businesses, real estate, investments, and other sources.

Estate planning, for you, isn’t as simple as just willing all your money to your kids. If someone only has $200,000 to work with, no one’s life is going to change when they pass it on. But if you have $20 million, or $200 million, serious questions must be explored and answered if you want to avoid having nearly half your wealth gobbled up by the government when you die, or wasted by relatives and children unprepared for the responsibility.

In this situation, the independent wealth manager is best suited to helping you craft the very best estate plan that achieves all your long term and next-generational goals.

Another unique need is tax planning. Make the wrong choices, and you can lose millions of dollars to taxes that you didn’t have to lose. An independent wealth manager will doggedly pursue the best possible tax outcomes for your situation.

And to be clear – this is not to say that your wealth manager specializes in all these services. But neither does the big bank. The difference is, we know who the very best experts in Silicon Valley or the San Francisco Bay Area are in each of these fields, including estate planning, tax accounting, philanthropic planning, legal planning, life insurance, and many other areas where you have unique needs that the average person does not.

Big banks that claim to offer those services will not be connecting you with specialists who are at the tops of their fields. It is highly unlikely to find those specialists working at large banks. The grand majority are independent practitioners. Just like wealth managers – here’s how to find the best one for you.

Big banks are where new graduates go to learn their trade. You don’t want to be the one they ‘practice’ on. Once they learn it, they open up their own offices.

  1. Doesn’t Understand What’s At Stake for You

The difference in tax rates between money taxed as ordinary income verses long term capital gains is staggering. For the ultra-high net worth investor, making the wrong choice here can cost you millions.

A financial advisor working for a large firm isn’t aware of how these stakes uniquely affect you. They may see taxes as just part of the ‘cost of doing business’ as an investor. And they’re more focused on reaching their revenue goals, which may require them to frequently buy, sell, and trade equities and mutual funds.

Frequent trading activity triggers short term capital gains taxes, which are taxed at the same rate as ordinary income.

Financial Advisor Belvedere Tiburon

You cannot sit idly by while a wet-behind-the-ears ‘advisor’ goes trade-happy with your money!

The same holds true for fees and the many other hidden costs  you can pay, avoid, or minimize, depending on the alertness and awareness of the person managing your investments. This is about more than just having a good plan. It’s about the ongoing stewardship of your wealth for long term growth, security, and permanence.

And regarding the future generations in your family, what do you want your wealth to accomplish for them after you’re gone?

Do you know that about 80% of ultra-high net worth families will see all their wealth disappear within three generations? Your great grandchildren are highly likely to be back to normal levels of financial status.

Is your advisor aware of these stakes? Does he or she have any experience helping you avoid that undesirable but extremely common outcome? Do they have anything to offer you to ensure the protection of your family’s wealth?

A non-independent advisor simply doesn’t think this way. They have other masters to serve besides you. The less time they can spend on you, the better. That’s how they think.

  1. Think Investment Performance Is the Same as Wealth Management

They would never admit this, of course. But their actions bear it out.

Investment performance, and the plan that produces it, is just one component of comprehensive wealth management. That plan is massively important, and you need one that serves your short and long term interests. But there is so much more.

You’re going to face situations that require hard choices about your wealth. Who are you going to turn to during those times? Who has the complete understanding of your entire financial and lifestyle picture, understands your goals and dreams, and knows you?

Large banks and brokerage firms are not likely to fulfill that role. It’s simply not in their job description.

However, independent wealth management firms exist to be that all-in-one go-to advisor you will need, especially when unexpected scenarios arise.

What You Need Instead

Customized Investment Process

Your life and your financial needs don’t fit into pre-determined little boxes. But that’s how a large bank or brokerage firm will treat you. More appropriate for ultra-high net worth investors is a customized wealth management and investment process. What does that mean?

It begins with you, not with questions about risk tolerance and predictions about annual rates of return. Your risk tolerance must be subject to your lifestyle and generational goals. The right risk tolerance for you might be different than for your neighbor. It depends on what you want to accomplish.

Your investment plan will then be created out of that unique set of goals and needs. And, as your life continues to change and unexpected events force you to make new choices and head in different directions, your plan will adapt to those changes, rather than persist in defiance of reality.

Most independent wealth managers will begin with some sort of customized approach like this.

At Pillar Wealth Management, what happens next is where you start to see differences between even the independent wealth managers.

We take your unique set of needs, lifestyle goals, and generational plans, and develop a customized investment plan that is built to achieve all of them, with room to spare.

Our investment process incorporates 100 years of historical market data. Why 100 years? Because over the past 100 years, the market has experienced wars, depressions, recessions, inflation, booms, busts, and everything in between. We have seen how the market behaved during all that volatility.

Using a proprietary process, we use that historical data to project how your portfolio is likely to perform in 1000 similar hypothetical scenarios.

Do you see the confidence you can have in those projections? They are not based upon speculation. They are based upon real historical data. We have seen how markets behave in a recession, and in a war. So what would happen to your portfolio in twenty years if we had a recession and a war at the same time? What if that was followed by a presidential resignation?

All these things have happened. Our process uses history to make high-probability projections of how your portfolio will perform – in 1000 different scenarios.

And if your portfolio still surpasses all your goals and plans in 750 to 900 of those scenarios, we consider your portfolio to be ‘on track.’ We call this the Comfort Zone.

THAT is a customized investment process.

Prioritization of Asset Management in Tandem with Performance

The preservation and permanence of your wealth matters far more than whether you earn 10% or 9% in a particular year.

The key to our portfolio projections is the historical data backing the process. Our plans are based on creating the ideal asset allocation, customized to your goals and needs.

Asset allocation is the determining factor in how well a portfolio performs over long periods of time – like the decades between now and when your wealth passes on to someone else. One good year? Who cares? You need one good lifetime of investment growth and wealth security.

You need what we call ‘financial serenity.’

This is far more important than risk tolerance without context.

Your Next Steps

As you can hopefully see, our approach goes way beyond just having an independent wealth manager. Hopefully you already understand how essential that is. Your real decision then, is choosing the best wealth manager for you.

For that, you have two choices.

1. Look into Pillar Wealth Management

If you want to learn more about what we’ve already shared about customized portfolio planning, and how we help secure your long term future using smart asset allocation based on historical market performance, click the link below and find out more.

Are you ready to talk about your goals and dreams? Schedule a chat with one of our wealth management experts.

2. Read our Free eBook Guide

We created a free guide for the sole purpose of helping ultra-high net worth investors choose the best wealth manager or financial advisor. It might not be us. But one thing you can probably count on – it’s not likely a big bank or brokerage firm.

Get your copy of The Ultimate Guide for Choosing the Best Financial Advisor for Investors with $10M – $500 Million Liquid Assets.

Financial Advisor Walnut Creek