It’s a family affair – how can advisers close the wealth transfer generation gap?

Financial Advisory

15 October 2019

A Meeting of Minds Winning AdvisersFinancial AdvisoryIndependent Financial AdviserWealth TransferWealth Transfer Generation GapWinning AdvisersWinning Advisers

Over the next 30 years, an estimated £5.5 trillion is due to be passed between generations in the UK.


Over the next 30 years, an estimated £5.5 trillion is due to be passed between generations in the UK. The bulk of these transfers will involve beneficiaries who are not yet advised, but who need to be.

The financial planning community is well aware of this challenge, but it is questionable if enough is being done to address it. This session explored what steps could or need to be taken to engage with each generation in a profitable way and some of the ways that have worked for advisers to achieve their clients’ goals.

The session also explored whether intermediaries had the right people with the appropriate skills to deal with the challenges of inter-generational transfers.


Killik & Co has recently undertaken research in relation to inheritance and people’s expectations versus reality. Some of the main findings are:

  • 22% of under 35s expecting an inheritance are delaying having children until they receive it.
  • Only 3% of the older generation believe intergenerational wealth transfer is an important component in the decision to start a family.
  • 59% of under 35s expecting an inheritance are relying on grandparents to get on the property ladder.
  • Only 7.6% of over 65s plan to pass on the majority of their estate during their lifetime.
  • 13% of under 35s expect to receive their inheritance during the lifetime of their older family members.
  • 73% of those expecting to receive an inheritance believe it is essential for their family security.
  • 21% of those due to inherit wealth believe a conversation about inheritance between themselves and their elder family members has taken place.
  • 40% of grandparents feel that they have discussed the arrangements for their estate.

What these findings demonstrate is that there is often a mismatch between perception and reality on the part of both the older and younger generations.


Emotional intelligence is an important skill set needed by advisers when dealing with intergenerational planning. It is relevant in relation to:

  • The way of talking to each generation in ways that engage them in order to ensure that they fully understand what they are being told
  • The venue for meetings: whilst the older generation will probably expect and want to meet in an office environment, some of the younger generation will want to meet in less formal surroundings.
  • The way information is conveyed: The older generation may want formal advice in letters or emails, whereas the younger generation may want information so that they can make their own decisions

Recruitment is another important area of emotional intelligence; when recruiting advisers who are going to be working in this area, it is important to look and test for the requisite skill sets.


Some firms focus on identifying and supporting individuals who can demonstrate that they are capable of flexing their individual styles to meet the needs of their clients of different ages and needs

Other firms have gone down a team route where there is a co-ordinated series of services delivered within a specialist team all of whom have skills in relevant areas.


There was agreement that the use of specific technology is not a solution but rather a way to support strategies and deliver convenience and improved processes that can both enhance client satisfaction, whilst at the same time improve adviser efficiency.


Generally, within the advice space of intergenerational transfers, face to face advice predominates that of online or telephone.


These include:

  • Adviser capacity - the need to free up more time to enable advisers to focus on intergenerational matters
  • Revenue – to ensure that the work undertaken is profitable or at least covers costs, this being a specific challenge when dealing with the younger generation who will often not have accumulated significant sums
  • How to take on the parents of younger clients


There is no magic bullet but rather a series of possible solutions to implement. Some initiatives that have worked for intermediaries present include

  • Family days out – i.e. where both generations participate
  • Pre university briefings on budgeting
  • Proactively seeking to meet clients’ children
  • Setting specific objectives for advisers in relation to their intergenerational activities
  • Utilising advisers with different levels of experience and cost with different generations in order to match both ages and complexity of needs.


For financial planners to be successful, there needs to be a thought through approach that is likely to include the following elements:

  • A specific thought-through strategy and the resources to deliver it
  • Advisers with the appropriate skill sets and technical knowledge
  • The effective use of technology, and above all,
  • The right mindset

Expert: Svenja Keller - Killik & Co                            

Facilitator: Roderic Rennison – Rennison Consulting Ltd