— Times are changing in the financial services
industry because of what is being called the greatest
multi-generational wealth transfer in American history.
Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College
estimates that $59 trillion — divided among heirs,
charities, estate taxes and estate closing costs —
will be transferred from 93.6 million American estates
between 2007 and 2061.
advisers across the country stand the risk of losing
substantial business when older generations die. The
younger generations may decide to take their money
management business to other firms.
why businesses like Waldron Private Wealth, a
Bridgeville, Pa., based investment advising firm that
manages $1.5 billion for about 150 clients, are taking
on new roles in family money conversations.
five years ago, Waldron started a program to open the
lines of communication between parents who want their
children to live productive lives and children who
needed to understand the weight of responsibility that
comes with inherited wealth.
program also gave advisers a chance to get to know the
children by including them in family conversations about
money and offering to help them with their personal
2015 report by Accenture, a multinational consulting
services company, found that many firms aren’t
prepared for the intergenerational shift, especially in
presenting services the next generation wants.
"Wealth management firms face a two-part challenge:
retaining the loyalty and the assets of the boomers,
while also developing a value proposition that is
relevant to the next generation of inheritors," the
building doesn’t stop with chats about stocks and
bonds, if Pittsburgh-area firms are any measure.
when kids are finishing up either high school or some
sort of post-secondary education, we are working with
them on creating a budget, buying a house or making
decisions on their benefits if they have benefits,"
said Matt Helfrich, president of Waldron Private Wealth.
are important, too. "We’ve worked with them on
writing resumes and we’ve helped with getting letters
of recommendation," he said.
Leaman, chief investment officer at Signature Financial
Planning, said his company’s advisers make a special
effort to get to know and interact with the children of
firm also facilitates family meetings.
like talking about sex, parents are sometimes afraid to
talk to their children about money as far as how much
they have and what they plan to do with it," Leaman
bring all generations together in a room and have an
open honest conversation about all the financial issues
in a place where everyone can feel safe and professional
advice is there at the table."
Brahim, CEO of BPU Investment Management, said that for
about the past 10 years, advisers at his firm have been
encouraging clients to include their children in the
estate planning process. The goal to help the children
understand the parents’ values around money, as well
as the mechanics of asset management and wealth
heard the concerns of parents," Brahim said.
"They worked a lifetime to accumulate their assets
and they were worried that a lifetime of work would be
quickly wasted if their children didn’t learn money
by engaging in the financial planning process with the
adult children, we can help the parents align their
estate plan with their children’s life goals."
has set itself up to have a workforce that can relate to
the generation in the 25 to 35 age group. Helfrich, who
started 15 years ago at the firm as an intern, is 36.
Advisers who meet with clients range from age 25 to 58.
said an interesting dynamic occurs when a group of
typically guarded and very private clients meet with
others like themselves for a discussion about their
children and their money.
start talking and everyone realizes these issues are not
unique," he said.