High-net-worth families have plenty of things to worry about. So it’s nice when the question of whether their financial advisors have their best interests at heart isn’t one of them, says Matthew T. Shafer, advisor and author of The Future of Your Wealth.
Shafer, who offers tips for overcoming potential problems within a group of advisors, explains that “wealthy families—and many middle-class families—have multiple advisors who specialize in different disciplines, including attorneys, tax specialists, insurance agents and the like. A family could find the best specialist in each field, but if these experts do not work in harmony, the results can be dreadful.”
To keep key players working together for the betterment of clients, Shafer offers the following tips:
1. Check your egos. Those who’ve reach the pinnacles of their professions tend to have strong personalities. Although everyone may agree that a second pair of eyes can improve the overall product, reviewing another’s work can be tricky. Strive for a collaborative tone among experts and try to void finger-pointing—it’s unprofessional and counterproductive.
2. Learn about complementary disciplines. “Financial advisors can do a better job for their clients if they’ve taken the time to learn about these other fields so they’re comfortable with cross-discipline conversations,” explains Shafer. Becoming familiar with another profession may not pay off immediately but can offer long-term benefits. Learning how other professions operate can improve your clients’ outcomes as well as enhance your own career.
3. Tread lightly in difficult situations. If you sense something may be lacking in a team member’s performance, first approach that member and politely ask for help in understanding. Discretion and caution should be your bywords. Give him every chance to fix any mistakes he might have made so that he can save face with the client. An exception to this rule involves a team member running afoul of the law. In that case, you are legal bound to alert your client.
If you find yourself part of a team, allow basic social courtesy and a firm devotion to your client’s best interest guide you.
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