Three-and-a half years ago, feeling underappreciated and underutilized at the financial planning firm where he was a partner, Rich Schuette, CFP, decided it was time to take his book of business elsewhere.
Within six months, Schuette had launched his own firm, Avalan Wealth Management, to serve high-net-worth clients in the Santa Barbara, Calif., area. And he hasn’t looked back since. In the three years since, his assets under management have nearly tripled to almost $100 million, just one of the reasons he feels vindicated in his decision to try carving out his own niche in the high-net-worth market.
Schuette attributes much of the early success to his work with a consultant specializing in the advisory space, CEG Worldwide, whose market research, strategic guidance and ongoing coaching, he says, have been indispensible to making inroads with wealthy clients. “I keep [CEG] on retainer,” he says, “because what they do for me is just so valuable.”
One thing they’ve done is help Schuette define and refine the service model that, he says, has proven instrumental in attracting high-net-worth clients. “The number one thing the affluent are looking for is strong service,” he observes.
Communication is key to that customized approach, she continues. “It’s got to be on their level and on their terms, to make their life easier and better. I’ll tell them, ‘I’m on your timeline, your schedule; you’re not on mine.’ They really appreciate that.”