Two of the thorniest issues advi- sors face are next-gen prob- lems. The first concerns clients.
Research shows that the heirs to a primary client often change advisors after
that primary client’s, well, death.
The second problem is the future of
their advisory firms. How do the founders of firms find successors without
changing their own unique business and
service models or selling out?
It turns out that Intercontinental
Wealth, an RIA with an affiliated broker-dealer and other service offerings
based in San Antonio, Texas, has found
one solution to both of those problems.
How? By counting three father-son
pairings among their 20 employees in
their headquarters and satellite offices
in Miami and Mexico City to serve their
South American and Mexican clients.
The president of Intercontinental,
Charles Lutz III — known as Charlie to
all — and his son Howard Lutz are one of
Charlie explains that he learned early
in his first career (more about that later),
as did Howard, “how intimate a subject
money is” to people. As one of the most
intimate issues, he notes how difficult
it is to talk to children and grandchildren about money. “It’s amazing” how
many families don’t share their thoughts
about money and wealth creation, he says,
which is why “some families need a mediator” to jump-start those conversations.
Thus Intercontinental’s parent-child
advisory teams, which includes co-founder Isidoro Korngold and his son,
Kenneth, and another pairing in the
Mexico City office.
“We’re modeling for clients,” Charlie
says, the benefits of speaking frankly
about money among different genera-
tions of a family, which can become
even more valuable to the many busi-
ness owners in Continental’s client base.
That ‘walking the talk’ encourages cli-
ents to bring their children into the
advisor-client conversation, he says.
It also would seem beneficial that the
wealth-creating client’s children could
relate better to an advisor who is closer to
their own age, but when Howard Lutz is
asked if he has to use a different language
or approach to speak with those younger
people, he demurs. “Each situation is different” when it comes to speaking with
different family members, he points out.
As with any client interaction, “the
language or sophistication level could
differ, which is completely independent
of their age.” But Howard believes that
the multi-generational team’s ability to
relate to different members of the same
family “absolutely enhances the overall
experience” for clients.
Charlie adds that while he may not
overtly try to instruct the younger members of a family, he finds himself bringing
them into the discussion, asking them
questions and seeking their opinions.
The benefits of that approach, says
Charlie, is that the ‘kids’ become more
interested in the services the firm provides,
which in turn “pleases their parents.”
BACK TO THE FUTURE
When asked what differentiates
Intercontinental from its peers, Charlie
Lutz doesn’t first mention the many non-U.S. clients the firm has, but rather its
client-service team approach: each client
has an advisor, a portfolio manager and
Walking the Talk on Multi-Gen Planning
Intercontinental Wealth models the benefits of multi-generational advice
to clients through its father-son pairings.
AHEAD OF THE CURVE
By James J. Green
How do the founders
of firms find
changing their own
unique business and
service models or