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Ahead of the curve for clients

Posted by , Partner

Robert Pinheiro explains how we developed our private wealth proposition.

The recent Smith & Williamson annual law firm survey (the 24th) identified that specialist sectors were the biggest opportunity for law firms over the next three years. Firms with a niche offering and a unique proposition are those that will grow in this turbulent and increasingly competitive market.

At Royds Withy King we had had a strategic dilemma – we had some niche offerings in heritage assets, art law and racing and bloodstock and some amazing clients but this was not visible enough in the marketplace. We wanted to create a compelling and unique proposition for high net worth individuals whose wealth gives rise to added complexity. From our market research we realised that this audience faces a unique set of challenges and have far greater demands on their time, face far more pressures and have more demanding standards. Because of their unique challenges and standards, these individuals required an elevated approach for effective engagement.

We identified an internal Private Wealth steering group comprising of members of the Marketing and BD team and key internal stakeholders. Our first challenge was identifying the proposition, our target audience and how we were going to communicate that internally so people were engaged and bought into what we were trying to achieve as well as to start thinking about our key differentiators to target this sophisticated audience.

Our private wealth proposition is a tailored offering to high net worth individuals where their wealth may give rise to added complexity especially where they own a business. We built our proposition around niche services such as reputation management, senior executive employment, heritage assets, international divorce, non-domicile tax and management buy-outs. We identified those clients as being high-net worth individuals, business owners and City professionals who needed help managing their business and personal wealth curves. We decided to phase targeting our audience: phase one (upon launch) would be high-net worth individuals, business owners, City professionals and referrers; phase two would be farmers and landowners, sporting professionals (supporting our existing tier one ranked racing and bloodstock practice) and international high net worths and phase three would be linked to our sector programme. We thought hard about ways we could help them with their legacy management and that was how our exclusive legacy management portal, Life Safe was born.

Life Safe allows people to keep a secure record of all their important documents, digital assets and treasured possessions in one place in an ultra secure, online vault. Created by our dedicated Private Wealth team, it provides a double encrypted location where clients with complex legal needs can store and keep track of their affairs. These might include their Will, Lasting Power of Attorney, pre-nuptial agreement, property or trust deeds, contracts and other legal documents as well as passports, insurance policies, share certificates and vital information on property or investment portfolios. Life Safe can also be set up to issue alerts reminding the owner of renewal dates and deadlines as well as
to provide an at-a-glance wealth overview to assist with financial management.

The creation of Life Safe was in direct response to feedback from the market. One of our clients Francois Louw, Bath Rugby flanker and South African international, commented: “During my career, I’ve accumulated caps and other rugby collectables which have financial and sentimental value. Life Safe is a genius way of keeping records of everything securely in one place. I think it’s a great idea. As a professional rugby player, I spend a lot of time in training and out on the road, in the UK and internationally. It can be difficult to keep on top of my paperwork – even the important stuff. I’m concerned about how to safeguard the sporting memorabilia I’m collecting, not to mention important documents and passwords, for the future.”

So far so good. We had a proposition, a target audience and some cool points of differentiation. Next was an internal communications programme so staff felt engaged and were clear about what we were offering and whom we were targeting. Our steering group worked hard at this as we knew we had one attempt to get this right so that people across the business bought in to what we were doing. Regular internal communications through our new Intranet and updates were issued to keep the momentum going in the build up to the external launch. We ran a series of internal roadshows across our regional office network for all staff and put together a comprehensive toolkit detailing what is private wealth, our value proposition and key features and benefits around Life Safe. We also included some case studies of where we had done complex work for high net worth individuals, details of the inception process so people knew how to identify a potential private wealth client on our CRM as well as key points of contact for the team. Post launch we worked up a series of Private Wealth ‘Top Trump’ cards which came up with a scenario and identified a series of triggers to help people with cross-selling.

Running alongside the internal launch were plans for our external launch in the market place. We recognised early on that our proposition would evolve over time and that high-net worth relationships take much longer to build especially as many have existing advisers. We ran a series of soft launches in the Summer showcasing our proposition and Life Safe to referrers, using their feedback to refine and evolve our offering. The marketing and BD team worked hard to produce bespoke marketing collateral and resources that captured the essence of our offering that would resonate with our target audience.

Initially our launch focused on referrers as we knew that they were the gatekeepers to high-net worth individuals. From our CRM and also anecdotal information we identified who those key referrers were. We invested heavily in a referrer engagement strategy across our regions with a dedicated private wealth BD referrer champion in each office so we could build strategic relationships and position ourselves as the ‘go-to’ firm offering private wealth expertise to attract more complex high margin work. We built an on-going campaign based around a monthly know-how newsletter giving regular high quality opinion led thought leadership to our referrers that would help them keep their clients ‘ahead of the curve’ in their business and personal lives. We looked at where we could utilise existing assets and relationships to deliver joint marketing initiatives aimed at our target audience.

Our communications team worked hard to demonstrate our credibility to this audience identifying case studies for PR engagement and building profile for the proposition and team members. Press releases and case studies were sent to key industry publications: Citywealth, e-Private client as well as researching more specialist publications linked to our niche expertise. We knew that legacy management is a huge issue for our clients. This is particularly the case for those needing to keep accurate records of assets in multiple locations. Life Safe is an innovative solution to these issues and one which we are excited to be able to bring to the market for the first time. Our ‘ahead of the curve’ brand is all about anticipation, looking at current problems in different ways. As part of that we look ahead to plan how to grow, protect and share our clients’ wealth. We are always looking for new ways to help our clients to deal with the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. We anticipate that Brexit in whatever form it takes, will bring uncertainty and new economic pressures, so we are pleased to be able to launch innovative products and added value services which will make life easier for our clients and their families.

The launch of our Private Wealth proposition and Life Safe portal signals a solid commitment at Royds Withy King to a strategic sector led approach in our marketing and BD efforts. This commitment has gained momentum and was driven forward by a change of leadership in the Marketing & Business Development team and confidence brought about by new expertise and enthusiasm within the legal teams. We’re confident that we have created a niche offering and unique proposition to differentiate ourselves in today’s market.

If you have any enquiries, please contact our Private Wealth team on:

0207 282 4310     Email usprivatewealth@roydswithyking.com

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