Centers of Influence and Gatekeepers: Their Influence on Referrals and Wealth Transfer
Gatekeepers, especially lawyers and accountants, have an enormous impact on the ability of a financial advisor or provider having access to new clients. Additionally, the ability of an organization to retain family assets is also linked to the recommendations made to beneficiaries as well as the access allowed by the family attorney or accountant. The gatekeepers often represent the most trusted family advisor and many successful financial advisors rely on these individuals to build their business.
This research was based upon qualitative interviews by senior Spectrem researchers with 25 accountants and 25 estate planning attorneys who provide services to families with more than $1 million of assets. The interviews were conducted face-to-face and via telephone to assure a nationally representative sample. The research focused on the following:
- What are the primary reasons a gatekeeper will recommend a specific financial advisor? Do they recommend only one advisor or are there a number of individuals that they may recommend?
- How did they meet the advisor? Professional organizations? Private clus? Personal friends?
- What types of interactions do they generally have with a family's financial advisor? Do they prefer online or telephone based relationships?
- Upon the death of a client, what type of advisor is recommended to family members? How do you focus on shepherding the process? Do you allow outside financial advisors and/or banks to approach the beneficiaries? Or do you prefer to act as an intermediary between the providers and the family?
- Does the size of an organization impact your likelihood to recommend a firm or advisor? Are you more or less likely to recommend an advisor that is from a large bank or brokerage firm versus a smaller local organization?
- Examples of actions that gatekeepers prefer from advisors and those that are not recommended will be identified.