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Help wanted: adviser for rich

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Posted: 3 pm ET

The rich are getting richer, according to a trio of recent studies, and are now turning their attention to the help. That means the spotlight is shining on the wealth management industry and the studies show they're not holding up under the scrutiny.

For instance, the Global Wealth Survey by PwC finds that clients are less confident in wealth managers' ability to deliver performance and instead are demanding higher quality service. Fewer than half of the wealth managers surveyed (37 percent) believe their clients are highly satisfied and would recommend them to others.

The difficulties for wealth managers lie partly in increased regulatory pressures, according to PwC, and partly in managers feeling they are being squeezed on fees, according to Boston Consulting Group.

But there could be another factor at work: a changing demographic. The World Wealth Report released by Merrill Lynch and CapGemini notes that overall, the rich are becoming younger. Seventeen percent of all high-net-worth individuals are age 45 and under, compared with 13 percent in 2008.

Advisers appear to be losing ground on this front. They're only managing to keep 46 percent of the money that's transferred from one generation to the next, the report says, which suggests the younger wealthy aren't enamored with tradition and don't seem to want the same advisers as Mom and Dad.

Though there's not much advisers can do to change regulation, they can deliver service that will justify their fees and work harder to understand the evolving population of the rich.

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