[pullquote]Advisors now need to step up their game[/pullquote]Independents were long seen as having an easy growth path in the Bay Area market, in part because their non-corporate business model appealed to the tech entrepreneurs generating so much of the region’s outsized wealth.
It appears the game may be changing, according to some experts in the area. “Advisors now need to step up their game,” says Erika Cramer, managing director and partner of Silver Lane, the New York-based investment banking firm which recently opened a new office in San Francisco, headed by Cramer.
“Used to relying on “friends and families” to grow their business, RIAs have traditionally had a low capital intensive business, but the market is now demanding more data and digital expertise, and that will require additional investment.”
“The Bay area wealth profile is unique; the influx of new money and wealth creation from tech-savvy investors from startup companies in health care, biotech and science, puts greater pressure on local wealth managers,” says Scott Walchek, a veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur.
“This emerging new demographic of wealth,” Walchek asserts, “is used to data symmetry. They expect to get their hands on data and they are not looking for intermediated services. They are saying to wealth managers: “I have as much data as you do.”
“Boutique firms have an advantage here,” says Debra Wetherby, chief executive officer of San Francisco-based Wetherby Asset Management. “There’s a real advantage to being a boutique,” Wetherby says. “You can customize, be hands on and be very personal. And I don’t think the personal aspect of what we do will change. People want to work with people.”