Wealth managers have advised clients on managing assets, almost since the dawn of time. Yet they’ve rarely facilitated funding. Historically, most of their lending has been limited to securities-backed loans as an accommodation, with an asset penetration that barely scratches the surface of their clients’ capacity for borrowing. And financing for what’s typically a client’s largest asset – their home – usually takes place at the bank down the street.
Not that some haven’t tried to play a greater role. In the ‘80s and ‘90s a few wirehouses, notably Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and UBS, built in-house lending platforms, including real estate and even business financing loans. Yet those offerings were mainly limited to “house brands,” lacking the breadth and depth of choice most advisors require to consistently deliver best-fit financing options for their clients. Further, the lending platforms often lacked the scale, focus, and quality of service that advisors could depend on. With the 2008-2009 financial crisis, most firms went back to their traditional asset management business and left liability management to the lenders.
But, as advisors have started to focus on providing comprehensive wealth management and advice, credit advice is becoming an essential pillar of delivery.
The Business Benefits Of Lending
Together with protection and financial planning, credit can position you to provide a greater scope of services, under one roof. And as important as this may be for maintaining and growing your business, the benefits of being able to provide credit services can go well beyond the financing transaction.
- Deliver total balance sheet management: Managing both assets and liabilities to help build your clients’ net worth demonstrates your holistic capabilities and scope of services.
- Preempt competitors: With the ability to facilitate loans, you can capture clients earlier in the lifecycle when credit needs are greater and peak investing years are yet to come. You can also protect existing relationships from competitors that now offer financing.
- Deepen and retain highly profitable relationships: Financing clients may have higher levels of production and assets, and the ability to help with loans can create a greater opportunity within existing relationships.
- Attract top producers: Advisors are often seeking to join firms who are growing, offering innovative tools, and providing demonstrable value to their clients.
- Create incremental revenue: As profit margins shrink, credit can offer direct compensation, including the ability to discover assets held at the competition. And that’s not counting the revenue from attracting and retaining high net worth relationships.
Despite these potential outcomes, some advisors have been reluctant to proactively help clients with their financing needs, and it’s not for lack of client interest. In fact, 83 percent of clients are looking for financing solutions from their advisors, yet only 3 percent say advisors are meeting this need.1
So why the disconnect? For many advisors, it’s often a confidence issue – fear of connecting clients to lenders who don’t represent their same values and service, and who lack the resources to address the complex finances of many top clients.
For those advisors who have found a broad choice in lenders, who provide service quality they can depend on, there is upside potential. They report that credit conversations are typically a soft and warm topic to raise with clients, one that enables an advisor to immediately demonstrate value.
The Envestnet Credit Exchange, powered by the Advisor Credit Exchange, is part of a seamless, digital experience on the Envestnet platform that aims to foster the intelligent, connected financial life and provide advisors with the tools they need to better serve their clients. As modern consumers actively seek providers to help them understand, measure, and optimize the full scope of their financial lives, credit becomes even more powerful, helping to bridge the gap between their current finances and future goals. Within the Envestnet ecosystem, you can empower consumers with lending-related choices and guidance that can support their needs and drive your business outcomes. Contact your Envestnet relationship manager for a demonstration or to learn more.
1. “Wealthy Investor Series: Defining Wealth Management,” Spectrem Group, last modified in August 2019, https://spectrem.com/Content_Product/-defining-wealth-management.
The information, analysis and opinions expressed herein are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views of Envestnet. These views reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of writing and are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing contained in this piece is intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type.
Advisor Credit Exchange, LLC (“ACE”) provides access to lending solutions for advisors’ clients via the Envestnet Platform through Envestnet Asset Management’s affiliate, Envestnet Financial Technologies. Envestnet, Inc. has a financial interest and occupies board of director positions in ACE. Neither ACE nor Envestnet offers any loan products or makes any lending decisions. The funding and administration of all loans is undertaken by separate and unaffiliated financial institutions. This material should not be construed as a recommendation or enforcement of any particular product, service, bank or firm.
Peter Stanton, CEO of Advisor Credit Exchange
Advisor Credit Exchange is a technology-empowered network that brings together lenders and wealth managers, enabling investment firms and advisors to deliver financing solutions to build their clients’ net worth and meet their financial goals. Advisor Credit Exchange provides lending solutions to advisors and their clients on the Envestnet platform through the Envestnet Credit Exchange.