Family matters when deciding where ones wealth should go. Thats the idea behind a newly designed kit intended to help advisors steer wealthy households through the complexities unique to their situation.
The impetus behind Phoenix Companies “Exploring the Family Dynamics of Wealth” was twofold, says Walter Zultowski, senior vice president of marketing for the Hartford, Conn.-based insurer.
“We saw there was a lot more being written about the emotional issues of wealth, raising children, sudden wealth syndrome, how wealth can get in the way of planning,” Zultowski says.
“From producers, wed hear a planning idea got stalled not because of the idea–there was no argument from the client–but the family created an additional dynamic,” he says.
In looking for ways to handle conflicts of interest among the family of wealthy clients, many producers expressed an interest in using methods popular with the very wealthy market, such as going on a retreat, Zultowski says.
Producers who work with wealthy families might not be able to take a whole clan to a resort, but they can take them to dinner, or arrange a family meeting. The kit was designed to facilitate such a strategy, Zultowski says.
Although the program centers around building consensus, the interest of the client, or the family member who has done the most to accumulate the wealth, remains the advisors primary concern, Zultowski says.
“In the model, we talk about the family founder, the individual who made the wealth; hell have the most say,” Zultowski says.
“The advisor is providing a process by which the family can come together, not the answers,” he continues. “Were not teaching advisors to be clinical psychologists; its helping family members to see the issues.”
Based on Phoenixs Wealth Management Model, the kit includes an illustration of the model that depicts factors that have an impact on or contribute to family wealth, such as governance, heritage and philanthropy. An advisor can show the illustration to a clients family to help them better understand the concepts involved in wealth management, Zultowski says.