things a lot slower. “You need to know the sales process is not
the same as with the typical American client. It might take you
six months to a year to get to know somebody before you even
have an investment,” Karaosmanoglu said.
He stressed that the sales process is “very different for dif-
ferent people. You can’t be pushy in some cultures, and you
really have to listen.”
Tuncer agreed, adding that patience pays off in the rela-
tionship with the client. “We’ve had folks come back to us
after they’ve decided to work with us and thank us for not
being pushy in the beginning,” he said. “Or they might say,
‘Thank you for agreeing that it makes sense to pay off my
mortgage.’ They have this suspicion that a lot of advisors are
selfish and pushing products. We don’t do any of that, and
they really like that. They like the transparency, and they like
the patience as well.”
Any advisor who hopes to secure international clients “can-
not be a domestic-oriented financial advisor. You need to know
what is happening all over the world,” Karaosmanoglu urged.
Advisors with international clients especially need to “have
a sense of what’s happening in their home country or in their
region, because they’ll bring that up in meetings as a point
of discussion, and not just be focused on the U.S. economy,”
Karaosmanoglu concurred. “You need to be aware of what’s
happening in the world,” he said. “Both Aydin and I read the
Financial Times daily, and we know about global events, global
news. The international client is very globally oriented.”
Of course, U.S. advisors with clients abroad need to be flexi-
ble just to be able to communicate with them. Karaosmanoglu
described one client in Singapore. “I’ll be calling them at 8: 30
in the morning our time, which is 8: 30 at night their time. We
work around these things. We have clients in India, in New
Zealand. We basically work our schedule around the client.”
Communication should be frequent, too, Tuncer said.
Advisors should “definitely make an extra effort to stay in
touch because not only are [international clients geographi-
cally] distant, but they also typically travel a lot so you have
to be pretty tenacious about staying in touch.”
Furthermore, he added, “because you’re not having a lot of
face-to-face, those regular phone calls are even more critical.”
Karaosmanoglu said advisors should conduct reviews with
international clients at a minimum of four times a year. “You
have to be in front of them, by phone, by email or if possible
in person,” he said.
“The idea is to be really proactive about staying in touch.
Otherwise, distance will weaken the relationship,” Tuncer said.
The Internet has smoothed out some of those communication issues. “In terms of email, it’s really made our
lives a lot easier. Every country—obviously we don’t have
clients in North Korea or Cuba—in the world has Internet.
Communication’s a lot easier,” Karaosmanoglu said.
Phone calls can be supplemented with FaceTime and
Skype, too, Tuncer said. “It’s important to push those tech-
nologies nowadays. They remove a barrier, too, and make the
relationship a little bit better.”
Karaosmanoglu and Tuncer were less enthusiastic about
social media. While Americans are used to getting informa-
tion from Facebook and Twitter, they both said they use social
media “not so much” with international clients.
“We have social media,” Karaosmanoglu said. “We post on
LinkedIn a few times a week. We have a team Facebook page,
but for the international clients, it’s really not out there yet.
We’re not seeing it.”
Danielle Andrus can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the numbers
Source: U. S. State Department
Percent of U.S. medical doctors who are
foreign born (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Valid U.S. passports in
circulation in 2014
New U.S. citizens sworn in
on Presidents Day 2014
Persons renouncing their U.S.
citizenship in 2013 (a record)
Countries with which the
U.S. has income tax treaties
Foreign-born residents of
the U.S. (2010 Census)
Persons renouncing U.S. citizenship
in 2014 (as of Sept. 30, 2014)
Percent of total U.S. population
foreign born (2010 Census)
U.S. population on Jan. 21,
2015 (Census Bureau)
Cost of renouncing
citizenship per person