“The concierge approach - not just about luxury or events - touches on what is the traditional starting ground of family office work."
Tom Burroughes, Family Wealth Report
The pandemic has upended many products and services and that includes concierge offerings for ultra-high net worth individuals.
Concierge is a lot more than fixing theater tickets, restaurant bookings or flights to holiday resorts. The term captures much more within the modern wealth management sector, covering hard-edged topics such as healthcare, medical emergency cover, help with children’s education, property maintenance and travel options. These services also speak to the “protecting the client” theme this news service addressed a few months ago.
And as certain aspects of wealth management become more commoditized, these features stand out even more as value-adds.
That is certainly the view of PagnatoKarp, the wealth management business that in June was acquired by Cresset Asset Management. That transaction meant that Cresset acquired a business with $2.3 billion in AuM, taking combined assets to $9.5 billion and among the 25 largest US RIAs.¹ The resulting larger organization will be in a position to take concierge services to another level, Paul Pagnato and Lorrie Zimecki told Family Wealth Report in a recent call. Pagnato is Founder of his eponymous firm and Zimecki is Director of Lifestyle Services.
One benefit from the M&A deal, they said, is that Cresset will now be able to provide concierge, aka lifestyle services, having not previously done so. Lifestyle services are included as part of the overall family office offering.
“Our particular strength is understanding families’ lifestyle goals so that we can give them back TIME to experience them successfully,” Zimecki said. “It is about a white glove service standard.”
Concierge services have been affected by the pandemic in certain ways. Pagnato spoke of how the firm connected a client with COVID-19 to a medical expert who could guide the client on the best course of action.
Providing these services as part of an overall wealth offering, or as an add-on service for which there is a separate charge, has been a feature of the sector for some time. With banks, the offerings can come in the form of high-service cards, with American Express, Mastercard and other brands coming to the fore. Within family offices and other UHNW advisory firms, examples of organizations with concierge offerings include The Abernathy Group and Rockefeller Capital Management, to give just two cases. There are also free-standing concierge firms such as UK-based global group Quintessentially.
The global concierge sector is large, with rising wealth in regions such as Asia acting as a big driver. A report by Grand View Research in 2019 said the area was valued at $537.6 million in 2018 and expected to register a compound annual growth rate of 5.3 per cent from 2019 to 2025.
As Pagnato argued, performing due diligence and checks on external providers is a big part of what his firm does in the concierge space.
“A lot of work is about vetting and checking on service/product providers so that they are at the suitable standard. Work involves responding to clients’ requests and also proactively anticipating them.”
Some needs are highly specialized, requiring discretion and care, such as helping a client whose relative had an addiction problem.
Requests for health-related concierge has increased in recent years, driven by factors such as longer lifespans, and the emphasis placed on “wellness”, etc. The pandemic has also increased interest in health-linked concierge services.
“We partnered with PinnacleCare, which was able to offer our families an email response hotline for medical experts to personally answer their pandemic-related questions. We provided a virtual event for our families with Namaste Wellness who helped guide them in taking care of their mental health during the very concerning times caused by COVID-19,” Pagnato continued, elaborating on examples of medical and healthcare matters.
His colleague Zimecki noted that travel-related concierge has had to change dramatically because of lockdowns and social distancing. That requires concierge advisors to think more flexibly about what clients will enjoy and want to have.
“With vacations, for example, people have shifted towards low-density ranch-style resorts and domestic road trips, and no international travel,” she said. “We are able to provide access within travel…they experience elite levels of service, VIP amenities and benefits.”
PagnatoKarp has added resources over recent years, including more people - tax compliance, legal, and digitization of services, for example.
To some extent, the concierge approach - not just about luxury or events - touches on what is the traditional starting ground of family office work, when people took care of all the family arrangements, governance, tasks, paperwork chores and other matters, Pagnato said.
“We build up a relationship of trust by doing what we are saying we are going to do,” he added.
Learn more about North American Family Office Intelligence and the Family Wealth Report HERE.
¹Source: Most recently updated on June 5, 2019, for fee-only advisors - https://data.investmentnews.com/ria/
Lorrie Zimecki, CMP, CGSP® is the Director, Lifestyle Services for PagnatoKarp. She and her team pledge to provide exceptional personal service so clients may maximize their most valuable resource of time. Lorrie spends her days “making it happen” for clients, creating unique and memorable experiences of the highest quality that bestow genuine care and assistance. With Lifestyle Services handling the details, Lorrie helps ensure families can truly enjoy the benefits of their hard earned success.
Paul A. Pagnato is Founder PagnatoKarp and Co-Chairman Cresset, and a top financial advisor with more than 28 years of industry leadership. Paul migrated from a career as a scientist looking for life in outer space to one of the top financial advisors in the U.S. He is ranked #1 in N. Virginia on Forbes Top Wealth Advisors and #2 in Virginia on Barron’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors lists. Paul is Founder of the TrueFiduciary® Institute, a non-profit with a Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP) of positively impacting one million lives through digital education. He is also author of the book Transparency Wave: Exponential Changes That Will Transform Our World.
Specializing in Intelligent Wealth Management™ for CEO Founders, entrepreneurs, wealth creators, and high-net-worth families. With True Fiduciary® standards of Transparency®, your interests come first with a focus on asset protection, cash flow, and open access. Our Family Office goal is to simplify and elevate your life so you have more time to spend on what matters to you most.