Pershing Study Finds that Advisory Firms Need to Rethink Their Multigenerational Planning Offering to Adequately Prepare Clients for the Looming Wealth Transfer

May 1, 2014

JERSEY CITY, N.J., - According to a study released today from Pershing LLC (Pershing), a BNY Mellon company, most advisors are not actively taking steps to prepare for the $30 trillion that investors will transfer to heirs over the next 30 years. The new study, “30 in 30: How Advisors Can Capitalize on a $30 Trillion Wealth Transfer Over the Next 30 Years,” examines the risks and opportunities associated with wealth transfer and what advisors should be doing to make multigenerational planning a cornerstone of their businesses. With an estimated $12 trillion in financial and non-financial assets currently changing hands, it is estimated that another $30 trillion will be transferred over the next three decades. In order to effectively service their clients and maintain the integrity of their firms, it is imperative that advisors redefine who their “client” is. This entails the expansion of their relationships to include effective, tax-efficient financial transfer solutions that span multiple generations in their clients’ families.

Pershing’s study, drawn from more than 1,200 investors from across the country, shows advisors may be taking needless risks and missing promising opportunities if they are not having a wealth-transfer conversation with their clients. According to the study, only 35% of investors surveyed said their advisor provides family wealth management, defined as a service that helps them manage and transfer wealth across generations. With this enormous opportunity, Pershing suggests advisors need to revise the definition of “client” – ensuring that the family group is at the forefront of a practice instead of just the primary account holders. Advisors must build relationships with both spouses and their heirs, making sure they are involved when planning for the transfer of wealth.

“Many advisors often wait until the moment of transfer to engage the children or heirs of their clients, which is simply too late,” says Kim Dellarocca, global head of segment marketing and practice management at Pershing. “Chances are your clients’ children and heirs will have formed relationships with other advisors by the time your clients are 65. The longer you wait to form relationships with the next generation, the greater your risk of losing those assets when the wealth changes hands.”

Only 17% of clients with children say their adult children work with their primary advisor. When asked how advisors came to work with their children, only 3% of clients said their advisor asked to meet with their children. Forty-one percent of investors said they took the initiative and asked their advisor to meet with their children. The numbers suggest that clients aren’t pushing to involve their families in the wealth-transfer conversation, but it’s also apparent that advisors are not leading the way.

In order to take action, Pershing outlines 10 steps advisors can take to build a multigenerational practice:

  1. Assess your current practice and review current clients
    Do you have a clear sense of what assets will be at risk when a client’s wealth is transferred?
  2. Review your current definition of “client”
    Expand the definition from individual, through household, to family.
  3. Refine your service offering
    Offerings should now be tailored to meeting the needs of a family, instead of an individual.
  4. Rework your process
    Engage both spouses as well as children, or other heirs in cases where clients do not have children.
  5. Consider your team
    Include women and younger members on your team who can engage with the next generation.
  6. Build a network
    Clients will need assistance with complex needs of wills, trusts, tax and estate planning. Develop the professional relationships your clients will need if you don't have these capabilities in-house.
  7. Educate yourself
    Become aware of the complexities associated with tax, trust and estate planning to help guide your clients.
  8. Audit your business
    Ensure your educational and social activities appeal to families and that they encourage discussion between couples and across generations.
  9. Solicit client feedback
    You need to know if you are forging strong relationships with all members of the family group. If you aren’t, you can adjust accordingly.

Be a leader
Lead the relationship with your family client. Don’t wait for your clients to ask for direction on wealth-transfer issues.

About NetX360®

NetX360 is Pershing's professional access platform for clients and advisors. A personalized and intuitive platform to power users' business needs, NetX360 features an intuitive user interface and personalized navigation that simplifies how the brokerage and advisory world does business and engages with clients. Using easy navigation tabs, custom dashboards and global search, users have access to all of the information and tools needed to manage client relationships, evolve their practice, perform research, execute trades and more. NetX360 is also the gateway to a leading network of information and technology providers to help clients grow their business quickly and efficiently.

About BNY Mellon's Pershing

BNY Mellon’s Pershing and its affiliates provide advisors, broker-dealers, family offices, hedge fund and ’40 Act fund managers, registered investment advisor firms and wealth managers with a broad suite of global financial business solutions. Many of the world’s most sophisticated and successful financial services firms rely on Pershing for clearing and custody, investment and retirement solutions, technology, enterprise data management, trading services, prime brokerage and business consulting.

Pershing helps clients improve profitability and drive growth, create capacity and efficiency, attract and retain talent, and manage risk and regulation. With a network of offices worldwide, Pershing provides business-to-business solutions to clients representing approximately 7 million investor accounts globally. Pershing LLC (member FINRA, NYSE, SIPC) is a BNY Mellon company. Additional information is available on, or follow us on Twitter @Pershing.

About BNY Mellon

BNY Mellon is a global investments company dedicated to helping its clients manage and service their financial assets throughout the investment lifecycle. Whether providing financial services for institutions, corporations or individual investors, BNY Mellon delivers informed investment management and investment services in 35 countries. As of June 30, 2019, BNY Mellon had $35.5 trillion in assets under custody and/or administration, and $1.8 trillion in assets under management. BNY Mellon can act as a single point of contact for clients looking to create, trade, hold, manage, service, distribute or restructure investments. BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE: BK). Additional information is available on Follow us on Twitter @BNYMellon or visit our newsroom at for the latest company news.