US Wealth Management: HNW Investors 2019

US Wealth Management: HNW Investors 2019

US Wealth Management: HNW Investors 2019


The US is the largest wealth market in the world and home to a diverse and sizable HNW segment. Expats are a particularly lucrative segment and the range of countries of origin among HNW expats in the US is diverse, with Canada and the UK being key feeder countries.

Expatriate flows are also responsible for a notable proportion of offshore investments thanks to investors’ propensity to invest in their country of origin. Close to 50% of local and over one third of offshore investments are allocated into equities, and with continued market uncertainty expected in the future, greater importance is being placed on diversification, driving demand for alternatives.

This report sizes the opportunity offered by the US wealth market and analyzes the investing preferences, service requirements, and portfolio allocations of US HNW investors. The report is based on our proprietary Global Wealth Managers Survey.


  • 2.2% of the US population is considered HNW but holds 42% of all liquid assets.
  • Over 90% of HNW individuals are men and 50% of those are over 60 years old.
  • HNW investors work with an average of 2.9 wealth managers, with the majority of wealth held via advisory or discretionary mandates.
  • 44% of HNW onshore wealth is allocated to equities. Going forward, the most notable portfolio reshuffle will benefit alternatives at the expense of bonds, as investors are looking for new means of diversification.
Reasons to buy
  • Develop and enhance your client targeting strategies using our data on HNW profiles and sources of wealth.
  • Give your marketing strategies the edge required and capture new clients using insights from our data on HNW investors’ preferences for the various styles of asset management.
  • Tailor your investment product portfolio to match current and future demand for different asset classes among HNW individuals.
  • Develop your service proposition to match the product and service demand expressed by US HNW investors and react proactively to forecasted changes in demand.

  • Executive Summary
    • The US HNW market continues to offer opportunities for growth
    • Key findings
    • Critical success factors
  • Sizing and Forecasting the US Wealth Market
    • Affluent individuals in the US account for 60% of the adult population
      • HNW investors account for 2.2% of the market
        • Table Figure 1: 2.2% of US individuals qualify as HNW
      • Wealth for HNW clients has dropped recently but is expected to rise significantly in the coming years
        • Table Figure 2: The rich are still getting richer
  • Demographics
    • Males aged between 50 and 70 dominate the US HNW market
      • Table Figure 3: Women constitute a smaller proportion of the US HNW segment but are typically younger
    • Earned wealth accounts for the largest proportion of US HNW investors
      • Almost all US HNW investors earned their wealth or acquired it as an entrepreneur
        • Table Figure 4: Almost all HNW wealth is sourced from earnings or first-generation entrepreneurship
      • US HNW clients source their wealth from different sectors
        • Table Figure 5: IT and financial services are the leading industries for sources of wealth
  • HNW Expats
    • Expats in the US are a growing and important segment
      • 16% of the US HNW client base is made up of expats
        • Table Figure 6: The proportion of Chinese expats has dropped while those from Canada and the UK have
      • The reasons for HNW investors to expatriate vary
        • Table Figure 7: Most expats stay between three and five years
      • Employment-based visas are an attractive option for HNW investors
  • HNW Investment Style Preferences
    • US HNW investors are a loyal bunch, placing great emphasis on personal relationships
      • US HNW investors prefer to use a few wealth management firms
        • Table Figure 8: US HNW clients still place most of their wealth with their main wealth manager
      • Investors seek peace of mind and expert wealth management
        • Table Figure 9: HNW clients rely on their advisors for peace of mind and superior expertise
      • US HNW clients are mainly interested in advisory and discretionary mandates
        • Table Figure 10: Advisory and discretionary mandates account for two thirds of US HNW wealth
      • A multi-asset management strategy is key in the US
        • Table Figure 11: Demand for all types of asset management mandates is evenly spread
    • Demand for all asset management mandates to rise, except discretionary
      • HNW investors are expected to seek a more hands-on approach
        • Table Figure 12: Slight drop in demand for discretionary asset management is predicted
      • Wealth managers seeking opportunities in the self-directing segment will need to prove themselves to potential clients
        • Table Figure 13: Self-directed investors typically lack trust in wealth managers or prefer exclusive control
  • HNW Asset Allocation
    • Asset allocation continues to weigh heavily towards equities
      • Despite having increased their allocations over the past year, investors remain exposed to equity risk
        • Table Figure 14: Equities is still by far the preferred asset
      • ETFs are becoming increasingly popular
        • Table Figure 15: Equities, and specifically equity funds, outrank all other asset allocations
      • As the traditional stock-bond correlation is diminishing, HNW investors are looking towards alternatives as a means of diversification
        • Table Figure 16: Wealth managers expect an increase in demand for all asset classes except bonds
      • Diversification and regular income are the main drivers across all asset allocation classes
        • Table Figure 17: Drivers for asset allocation vary greatly across the six classes
  • HNW Offshore Investment Preferences
    • Demand for offshore holdings by US HNW clients is forecast to stagnate
      • Increased government scrutiny is putting a damper on offshore holdings
        • Table Figure 18: Increased government regulations and shifts in demographics are to blame for the stagnation of
      • A desire for better returns and expatriate money flows are major offshore drivers
        • Table Figure 19: Expats retain ties with business interests in their countries of origin
    • Offshore holdings are geographically diversified, but equity investments dominate
      • Next to Switzerland and the UK, expat source countries Mexico and China are key booking centers
        • Table Figure 20: The UK, Switzerland, and China remain the most popular booking centers
      • Offshore portfolios are dominated by equities and bonds
        • Table Figure 21: Except for investments in currencies, offshore asset class ratios mimic those of onshore portfolios
  • HNW Product Demand and Provision
    • Planning services are in high demand in the US
      • Table Figure 22: Financial and inheritance planning services are most in demand for HNW clients
      • A holistic approach to wealth management services is key to resonating with the US HNW market
        • Table Figure 23: The already strong HNW demand for all planning services is expected to increase, while demand
  • Appendix
    • Abbreviations and acronyms
    • Methodology
      • GlobalData's 2019 Global Wealth Managers Survey
      • Level of agreement calculation
      • Service level of demand score
      • Forecast level of demand calculation
    • Secondary sources
    • Further reading
    • About GlobalData
      • Table Figure 24: About GlobalData

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