RIA Rising

Signs of "hands off" clients in wealth management

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Are you dreading that telephone call—the one that comes every day—from the rich client with the latest dumb idea about how you should be running his money? Maybe he has a lead on something in Nigeria that he believes is worth checking out.

Well, the folks from Spectrem Group have good news for you.

Millionaires, it seems, are less interested in managing their wealth as closely as they have in days gone by, Spectrem says in its studies, “Millionaire Investors 2011, Vol. 1” and “UHNW Investors 2011, Vol. 1.” For those with net worth of $1 million to $5 million, excluding their primary residence, less than half—47 percent—say they like to be “actively involved in the day-to-day management of their investments,” Spectrem says.

That percentage is well off from 65 percent in 2010 and 69 percent in 2009. For those with far deeper pockets—net worth of $5 million to $25 million—the trend remains the same. Only 50 percent want to be actively involved in the day-to-day, compared to 63 percent last year and 67 percent in 2009.

The numbers skew the same regardless of age, although for those age 54 and under, it’s not as big. Spectrem based its results on an on-line survey of 1,500 households with net worth of $1 million to $5 million, and an on-line survey of 650 UHNW with $5 million to $25 million. The research was done in the first quarter and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 and 3.8 percentage points, respectively.

Millionaires could be easing up on all the attention they felt they needed to employ following the crash in 2008, Spectrem says. “Wealthy Americans may simply be experiencing investor fatigue, prompting them to pull back and allow their advisors to take the lead in managing their assets,” Spectrem President George H. Walper Jr. says.

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