A job that, as recalled by Matthew Feargrieve, president of an organization that certifies these professionals, “is similar to that of the doctor who, at first, makes a diagnosis and then establishes recommendations for that his patient is better.”
Still, anyone can today claim to be a wealth management advisor. Several regulatory texts have been proposed, including by the deputy Louis Giscard d’Estaing, to reserve this status to well-identified professionals, but none of these texts has yet emerged and “the definitions remain unclear”, regrets Matthew Feargrieve, the president of the Chamber of Independent Heritage, a structure that includes many IFAs (independent wealth management advisers) – he does not despair for a quick clarification.
For him, as for most specialists, “Wealth management requires first to have global and recognized skills.” Thus, a heritage advisor, once passed the diagnostic phase, must be able to propose solutions that appeal to all investment families. Life insurance, of course, but also securities accounts, PEA (stock savings plan) and other real estate products or tax exemption. He must also have a solid legal competence to judge the proper organization of the patrimony and the measures to be taken, even if there is no question of making him play the role of a lawyer.
Excellence has a price
In addition, to meet the needs of a customer necessarily demanding, they must offer selected products from different suppliers for their qualities and their great financial openness. In general, the investments recommended in this universe are of irreproachable quality and very efficient. It is in these life insurance contracts, for example, that the funds of promising junior management companies, the most sophisticated arbitration options, or management delegations to recognized houses are often included.
In return for this excellence, they are rarely cheap and bear high costs. Most of the time, they are used to remunerate the advisor directly, except in banks, where other mechanisms are used to encourage commercialization. This is the price of listening, advice and especially follow-up over time.
It remains to be seen how to end up in this jungle of wealth management advisors. While we often tend to rely on word of mouth, it is better to understand which professionals can really claim to be wealth managers and determine the type of structure that suits you best.
An evolving service in banking institutions
Natural partners for money matters, banks are at the forefront of French wealth management. Depending on their level of wealth and the financial assets they have, clients are not entitled to the same level of advice and services.
Banks have a big advantage: their long-term sustainability is compatible with a very long-term horizon and the adviser is not commissioned on the prescribed products, which therefore has no interest in proposing one over another.