What is a wealth management advisor?

1 min readLast updated January 2, 2024by Rachel Carey

Find out what a wealth management advisor is, the services they provide, and how to find a well-qualified professional who can help you achieve your financial objectives.

Summary 

  • Wealth advisors typically manage the financial affairs of affluent individuals. 

  • They provide comprehensive services for clients’ multifaceted portfolios. 

  • Wealth management professionals are highly qualified fiduciaries. 

  • The global wealth management market reached $1,826.17 billion in 2023, 

What is a wealth management advisor? 

A wealth management advisor is a seasoned professional who assists clients in creating financial solutions comprising products and services to grow and preserve their assets. They may collaborate with a team of accountants, attorneys, or other advisors to develop comprehensive financial management packages for affluent customers. 

Wealth management often requires an integrated approach to meet a client’s multifaceted needs. Professionals may use various services to meet these clients’ requirements, including estate planning, investment advice, retirement planning, accounting, and tax management.  

Clients with a high net worth often hire wealth advisors to craft a strategic plan for their present and future financial needs, like wills and trusts, business succession plans, and investments. They will also source and head up the team to manage the client’s assets. 

Wealth advisors may have their own private businesses, but you will also find them working in banks, brokerage firms, trust companies, investment consultant firms, insurance companies, and money management firms. 

What does a wealth advisor do? 

As wealth advisors typically work with high net-worth clients, their responsibilities go beyond merely providing investment advice.  

One of the core roles of a wealth management advisor is to assess the client’s current financial status to gain an in-depth understanding of their short-term and long-term money management goals. They will then devise a comprehensive strategy to manage all aspects of the client’s financial affairs. 

These financial advisors must keep up to date with market trends, which involves much reading and scouring through financial columns and news publications. They will assess the overnight markets and look at what is happening locally.  

They will also search out information that affects their client base. Wealth management professionals constantly review their clients’ portfolios to make adjustments where necessary.  

What qualifications does a wealth advisor have? 

As wealth advisors are responsible for the large fortunes belonging to high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, they must have the relevant qualifications, experience, and skills to manage and grow their clients’ finances. 

These financial professionals require bachelor’s degrees, typically in finance, business, economics, or a similar faculty. Many wealth management advisors will also have an MBA.  

There are almost 200 qualifications associated with the financial sector; financial advisors most often pursue added qualifications such as Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), and Personal Finance Specialist (PFC).  

Wealth managers working with high-level corporate clients and high-net-worth individuals typically hold CFA certification, while CFPs usually manage the finances of individuals or couples.  

Other industry-specific qualifications these professionals may acquire include: 

  • Chartered Wealth Manager (CWM) 

  • Certified Wealth Consultant (CWC) 

  • Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWMA) 

  • Certified Wealth Preservation Planner (CWPP) 

In addition to their formal qualifications, wealth advisors need several years of experience in the financial field. While education and experience are crucial for the position, a person providing wealth management services must also have the following skills: 

  • Problem-solving and analytical abilities to decrypt complex financial data and craft suitable investment strategies 

  • The ability to communicate this data to their clients 

  • Exceptional interpersonal skills to maintain good relationships with clients 

  • The ability to collaborate with other professionals in the field 

  • The knowledge and understanding of industry software and market data providers such as Bloomberg 

Advisors must also register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) if they manage over $25 million in assets. For less than that, they must register with the state organization. 

What services do wealth advisors provide? 

Wealth management advisors offer their affluent clients a range of services to manage their multifaceted needs, including: 

  • Investment management: Developing and managing a client’s portfolio, ensuring diversification across different asset classes. These may consist of stocks and bonds as well as alternative investments.  

  • Comprehensive financial planning: This involves several aspects, including education planning, retirement planning, debt reduction, and general strategies to enhance a client’s wealth. 

  • Tax planning: Wealth advisors manage their clients’ taxes by increasing tax-sheltered investments and assisting with loss selling. They often consult the client’s accountant to minimize taxes and devise planning strategies. 

  • Estate planning: Working alongside attorneys to help clients organize and arrange their assets after they pass away. It also involves succession planning. 

  • Cash flow management: This may include facilitating withdrawals from investments, generating cash flow for business and personal needs, and assistance with significant purchases. 

How much does a wealth advisor cost? 

Wealth managers typically charge a percentage of the client’s assets under management (AUM). The average fee is approximately 1%, but it can be more or less depending on the size of the client’s portfolio.  

A $1 million worth of AUM may cost $10,000 at 1%, but a wealth advisor may charge a client with an AUM worth $10 million a lower percentage, like 0.5%. This would incur an annual fee of $50,000. 

Sometimes, wealth management professionals charge an hourly consultation rate or a fixed annual fee, but this is more the exception than the rule. 

How do I find a good wealth advisor? 

High-net-worth individuals require skilled, knowledgeable, qualified, and trustworthy wealth management advisors. Here are some tips for finding suitable professionals: 

  • Do your homework. Ensure the advisor has a good reputation, the appropriate credentials, and sufficient experience in the financial field. Checking the SEC’s Investment Advisor Public Disclosure database or searching on FINRA Brokercheck is a good idea. 

  • Compare different advisory firms to see whether they provide services that align with your financial objectives. 

  • Consider the way the advisor structures their fees. 

  • Ask about the advisor’s communication methods to see if they are accessible when needed. 

  • Ensure they are fiduciaries, bound to put your financial needs above their own. 

Seek expert wealth management advice 

With the global wealth management market reaching $1,826.17 billion in 2023, wealth management advisors play a major role in the financial world. These advisors are highly qualified, skilled individuals with the necessary expertise and experience to handle high-value portfolios.  

If you need financial advice or are looking for a financial advisor, Unbiased can match you with an expert financial advisor now.  

Senior Content Writer

Rachel Carey

Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.