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The Lede: Are clients’ lives becoming ever more global?

In May’s edition of The Lede, Adam Gale looks at how the lives of ultra-high-net-worth individuals are becoming ever more global. Leading an international life can create various challenges for key issues, such as tax and inheritance. As a result, finding the right people to advise you is crucial, as it will help to adapt to the pain points you find.

Ultra-high-net-worth individuals are becoming ever more global.

This article is an extract from Transmission Private’s monthly newsletter, The Lede, which tracks the world of reputation management for private clients. You can sign up for the newsletter on our website via the tab at the bottom of this article or by completing the form here.


So, what was it like for those in Davos this year? This year’s Davos summit was alive with talk of rising geopolitical tensions and the prospect of a long-term retreat from globalisation. Yet this contrasts with the experience of the luminaries who actually attended Davos, many of whom of course have considerable wealth. If anything, life for ultra-high-net-worths is becoming ever more global.

Isn’t it lazy to assume UHWNIs are jet-setting citizens of nowhere? Yes! The reality of international lives is much more prosaic than the ‘Davos Man’ trope would suggest. UNWHIs may have businesses and investments in different countries, or simply second homes there. They may be migrants drawn by the personal and professional charms of London, New York, or the south of France, but retaining ties with their homeland. Or they could be members of well-established families with branches that cross borders. None of this makes them disconnected from real life.

What challenges does this create? It may sound glamorous to travel frequently or to split your time between different countries, but it is also complicated. As Burges Salmon’s Beatrice Puoti discusses in our Table Talk interview, this can affect strategic issues like succession, tax and inheritance, along with more mundane problems like culture shock and chronic jetlag.

How can advisors help? As with any business, it comes back to understanding your customers’ lives, pain points and world view, and adapting accordingly. It could manifest as something as simple as being flexible around calls from different time zones, or something as essential as forging strong relationships with global counterparts to provide clients with a seamless experience, wherever they are. As ever, finding the right people is crucial, something Deloitte’s Christina Staples discusses in our IMHO section.

How do we know what their pain points are? It may sound obvious, but talk to them. Find out their hassles and headaches, even if it’s not in your geography or area of expertise, and then figure out how to help them either directly or through trusted partners. This is precisely the reason many private banks offer concierge services, which can be particularly useful for clients who are travelling to or settling into a new country, where they lack an established network.

Takeaway… Rising levels of wealth mean that UHNWIs are leading increasingly international lives. This brings changing needs, to which advisors should adapt accordingly. If that means hobnobbing in Davos for a few days a year, so be it.

Transmission Private publishes a monthly newsletter that tracks the future of reputation management for private clients.

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Transmission Private publishes a monthly newsletter that tracks the future of reputation management for private clients.