Building a multi-generational client base by combining nobility of spirit with a canny commercial hat

Financial Advisory

Financial Advisory


 Goldman Sachs AM                               scydonia.png

Moderator: Innes Miller, Scydonia Wealth Markets Consulting

Expert: Marie-Laure Humbert, GSAM 

Key themes

Building a multi-generational client base provides advisers with the opportunity to develop deeper relationships with families, in the process building greater dependency between the adviser and client.
By doing so advisers have the opportunity to broaden the services they provide, adding more value to the relationship. Client relationships can be retained across generations and economies of scale can be achieved by serving a number of individuals from the same family.
By engaging younger family members, owners of advice firms can use this to provide recently qualified advisers with the opportunity to build a client facing experience. In addition to providing succession in the client bank, serving families can address the issue of business succession too as it allows younger advisers to grow and develop into future business managers or owners.  
To succeed in serving a multi-generational client bank a different approach is required. Personal coaching and other soft skills are required to build trust and engage families in open conversations about money. Being able to manage the complexity that exists in family dynamics presents new challenges, but also new opportunities.
Parents often find it difficult to talk about money with their children. For those approaching a time when they will attend university, or start work, financial education can be a valuable benefit the firm can offer - and one that can be paid for by the parents.
Millennials have different needs and expectations, with technology playing an ever increasing role in their lives. To engage with this group, advisers should consider hiring people who understand this group: millennials – and develop technology led propositions that appeal to their needs and attitudes towards financial advice. A key part of the service could be debt advisory, where during the early years it’s about helping millennials reduce debt and start to save for a deposit to buy a home, for example. When assessing the value of serving millennials, advisers need to consider the overall value of the family relationship, as opposed to the individuals within it. 
Considering the needs of parents and grandparents, people are living longer and are consequently adopting a different approach to managing their money. Some families are passing on their wealth sooner. For example, grandparents paying for school fees or once in a lifetime experiences. While others are keeping their wealth longer to support life expectancy. Both present cash flow, tax and inheritance planning opportunities.
To develop an intergenerational planning service, firms need to consider: 

  • The resources and capabilities that need to be in place to deliver such a proposition.
  • Relationship management and new business development skills that may be different to what the firm has in place today.
  • How they develop or acquire the skills to engage family members in discussions about money, inheritance and future wealth creation.
  • Financial education: managing money basics, managing family assets and inheritance, managing and mitigating money-driven family conflict.
  • Debt and credit management advice for family members at the early stages of their careers.
  • How technology can be used to engage the family – from grandchildren to grandparents.
  • How the service should be marketed – does it for example require a new brand?
  • How should it be priced? Should the price and service relate to the full service provided to the family – or should individual family members pay?


  • There is a growing opportunity to serve families, driven by inheritance tax planning.
  • Firms looking to serve this market should create a clearly defined proposition dedicated to serving the needs of families.
  • There is a greater opportunity among high net worth’s with more complex needs: it may be difficult to justify for the affluent market.
  • A different approach is required – advisers will require the necessary skills to engage the family in money conversations. It may be worth sending them on a coaching course.
  • New techniques may need to be introduced – for example gamification and the use of technology to support discussions, client engagement and ongoing client servicing.
  • Professional connections also have a key role to play and the adviser has the opportunity to take the lead in managing these relationships. By doing so, a premium can be applied to the fees being charged as it will ultimately save the client personal time and effort.