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10 Questions Every Client Will Ask Every Year End

For most in the financial industry, the year-end means reconciliation, reviewing and reporting.  For the deal-makers, the year-end means closing last minute deals or deals shelving into quarter 1 in the following year.

But for Wealth Managers, Private Bankers, Priority Bankers, Portfolio Managers, Investment Advisors and Treasury Specialists, every year-end is a moment of truth.


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Thanking clients for their continuous trust and belief, and doing a portfolio review.  Over a period of 10 years, there will be good years and bad years.

Wealth & Investment professionals have the non-enviable tasks of updating every single client, every single year, including the bad years.

And here is a list of 10 questions every client will likely ask you at every year-end:

No. 1 How is the Portfolio Performance this Year?

Be it $10,000 or $100,000, $1 Million or $100 Million, every client will be asking: “How is the Portfolio / Investments this year?”

If this is a good year for the portfolio, you are in for higher expectations next year.  Clients will often remark : “Hope next year is the same, or better”

If this is a bad year for the portfolio, you will have some explaining to do.  And clients’ likely follow-up remarks:

  • ” Why did this happen “
  • ” Will a rebound come in “
  • ” What should we do “


No. 2 Did We do Better than the Market?

Financial Analysis
Financial Analysis

Good returns or bad returns, it is often subjective.  For example, in 2016, the Treasury yield is about 5 – 10% in India and Indonesia while in many European Union nations, it yield almost nothing.

Clients often ask:

  • Did we do better than the market?
  • How do we fare against others?
  • Are we worst off?

Conclusion: You will always be compared.


No. 3 Why do we lose so much in this particular investment?

How you wish the portfolio only have one investment.

But the portfolio is usually filled with 5 – 20 investments.  There will be good performers, and bad performers (losses).  It is not hard for clients to ask you: “Why are we losing in this particular investment?”


No. 4 Why did we get into this in the first place?

Portfolio Allocation
Portfolio Allocation

If facing a loss isn’t bad enough, the next question comes is:  “Why did we get into this investment in the first place?”

You probably start asking yourself:” If only we know which investment will definitely make a profit ”


No. 5 Should we take Profit?

It is not all bad as there should be some investments that are profitable.  The question might come: “Should we take profit on the investment”

Sometimes, clients continue with: “Should we invest more into this?”


No. 6 Should we sell all and invest into other things?

It is probably absurd why you get this question from client: “Should we sell all and invest into other investments?

But still client love to ask this question.  Clients feel there are always better alternatives.


No. 7 Should we hold more Cash?


One of the most difficult question to respond to: “Should we hold more cash?”  Difficult as it is a rational question.

  • How much more in cash should the client be holding?
  • How would the interest rate, inflation rate and unexpected economic and financial market growth impact the portfolio and cash positions?

But would too much cash impact the revenue flow to your wealth management business?


No. 8 Should we invest more now?

A lovely question to get from clients, because it means more Assets Under Management or fee income generated.  But getting in now means committing to an unknown forecast the following year.

Since most plans are only announced in February – April, is it too early to make plans?  But what if this is the perfect timing, since many are indecisive?


No. 9 Will next year be more volatile?

Nobody likes volatility but volatility is where the financial markets, portfolio and investments thrive.

If it will be a dull year, clients are better off putting all in cash.  But if everyone invests in cash, shouldn’t you be investing?  Opinions will fly and a good discussion with client will follow.


No. 10 What is good to invest into next year?

Private Banking Team
Private Banking Team

Every client will be anxiously asking:”What is good to invest into next year?”  Some play prefer to assess and wait till the following year.

There will also be many popular picks and the under-noticed investments that spring up from nowhere.  There will be mainstream views and contrarian views.

The meeting will likely end off with:” Lets review more options early next year ”


Are these the 10 questions client will ask you every year?  Or have you and your clients gone past the phase of portfolio reviews?

Bonus question 1: Will you be around next year?

Bonus question 2: I will have a big payout from bonuses or property sale, what should I do?

Worst Christmas Question: I need the cash and intend to liquidate all investments and park all into cash.  Can you prepare the documents.


2021 Data Release
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2020 Top 10 Largest Family Office
2020 Top 10 Largest Multi-Family Offices
2020 Report: Hong Kong Private Banks & Asset Mgmt - $4.49 Trillion
2020 Report: Singapore Asset Mgmt - $3.48 Trillion AUM

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