Understanding the Importance of Integrated Wealth Management

By Adam Laird on April 3, 2019

Affluent families often find themselves seeking and needing guidance from a network of professional advisors—accountants, lawyers, and others. With advice coming from a variety of sources, how do you make sure it’s being put to use in ways that will best serve your family’s needs and help you build sustainable wealth?

Here, we look more closely at integrated wealth management, what it is and the difference it can make in helping your family achieve its long-term goals.

What Is Integrated Wealth Management?

When it comes to wealth management, affluent families typically have complex needs that extend beyond lifestyle or retirement funding, encompassing family legacies and philanthropic giving as well. There may also be sophisticated financial structures in place, such as holding companies or family trusts, that need to be established and overseen by lawyers, accountants, and other experts.

Focusing too heavily on money management at the expense of structural advice can result in a wealth management plan that doesn’t reflect the full scope or intricacy of a family’s situation.

The purpose of integrated wealth management is to bring together your network of professional advisors to make informed choices and create prudent, responsible, and holistic solutions that are specific to your family’s needs.

How Can Integrated Wealth Management Create Sustainable Wealth?

There are different ways to approach integrated wealth management, but not all are created equal. Two you may be familiar with are:

  • Large Financial Institutions with In-House Professionals: In recent years, more major financial institutions have adopted models where they retain their own teams of lawyers, accountants, actuaries, and other advisors. At the outset this may seem beneficial. Is it not convenient to find all that expertise under a single roof? The problem, however, is that families often find themselves trading convenience for competency, value, transparency, and other crucial qualities. We discuss each of these challenges at length in a previous article and encourage you to view it if you would like to learn more.
  • Individual Investors: Some individuals choose to integrate the wealth management advice they receive on their own, though this approach can also have disadvantages. Doing it effectively requires both time and expertise, they may lack access to certain types of investment options like private debt, and it may not be sustainable over the long term. We helped a family work through a similar situation, which you can read about here.

The third approach to integrated wealth management is professional collaboration through structured governance and oversight practices. This harnesses the combined skills of your family’s trusted advisors, bringing them together to close the gaps and provide cohesive, transparent, and informed wealth management solutions.

Some of the reasons affluent families prefer this process are:

  • They have peace of mind knowing their professional advisors are serving the family’s best interests.
  • Their advisors understand the complexity of the family’s situation.
  • They are true experts, being dedicated exclusively to their area of practice.

Ultimately, integrated wealth management is about ensuring all of your professional advisors are committed to helping your family achieve its goals and generate sustainable wealth.

HighView is an experienced portfolio management firm for affluent Canadian families and foundations. We would be happy to discuss our goals-based investment approach with you and your professional advisors.

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Adam Laird

As Vice President & Principal at HighView, Adam Laird focuses on advising high net worth families about wealth management. He is an expert in CRM2 and a champion of goals-based, transparent, and objective investment counselling.
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