The VIP Forum hosted the heads of wealth management of several private banks from across Europe in its second gathering of the Wealth Management Executive Circle on November 30 – December 1st in Paris. Heads of wealth management convened to discuss strategies for managing wealth in an environment of low or close to no returns. Executives shared challenges and best practices for embedding goal-based planning into advisory conversations, up-skilling advisors’ emotional intelligence, building a consistent client experience, and instilling expense control into the strategic decision-making process. Some interesting conclusions from the two-day session included:

Creating a dynamic wealth planning framework that focuses on achieving client goals, instead of solely investment performance

Employing back-office staff, team structures and technology to prevent client pain points and to deliver “moments of magic” cost-effectively

Developing a standardized expense control process, rather than implementing one off cost-cutting measures
Leveraging advisors as the orchestrator of the client experience and “voice of the client” across firms’ multiple touchpoints

Optimizing the client experience emerged as wealth managers’ primary strategic priority for 2011. Firms are using the client experience as a framework to rethink team structures, advisor competencies and coaching practices, advisory processes and multi-channel service and advice delivery. The VIP Forum looks forward to tackling these challenges in its upcoming Q1 2011 research initiative on the client experience