The Rise of External Asset Managers (EAM)

Ultimate Guide For Ultra-High-Net-Worth (UHNW) Clients

The world of finance is constantly evolving, and the rise of External Asset Managers (EAMs) is a testament to this fact. EAMs are independent professionals who manage the assets of Ultra-High-Net-Worth (UHNW) clients. They offer clients personalized investment solutions, access to a wider range of investment opportunities, and a level of service that traditional wealth management firms cannot match. As the number of UHNW individuals continues to grow, so does the demand for EAMs.

In this article, we will explore the rise of EAMs, their benefits, and why they are fast becoming the preferred choice for ultra-high-net-worth clients. Whether you are a client seeking to build your wealth or an EAM looking to expand your business, this guide will provide you with valuable insights into the world of EAMs.

Table of Contents

external asset manager

1. The Rise Of External Asset Managers (EAMs)

  • In the ever-evolving landscape of wealth management, a new player has emerged to cater specifically to the needs of ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) clients – External Asset Managers (EAMs).
  • With the increasing complexity of financial markets and the growing demand for personalized and tailored investment strategies, EAMs have gained significant traction in recent years.
  • So, what exactly is an EAM?
    • In essence, an EAM is an independent professional or a team of experts who provide comprehensive wealth management services to affluent individuals and families.
    • Unlike traditional private banks or wealth management firms, EAMs operate as external entities, offering a more flexible and client-centric approach to managing finances.
  • One of the key reasons behind the rise of EAMs is the desire for greater transparency and control over investment decisions.
    • UHNW clients often have unique financial goals, preferences, and risk tolerances that require a customized approach.
    • EAMs, with their specialized expertise and deep understanding of the market, can offer tailored strategies that align with the specific needs and objectives of their clients.
  • Another factor contributing to the surge in popularity of EAMs is the growing importance of holistic wealth management.
    • These professionals go beyond mere investment advice and asset allocation. They provide comprehensive services, including financial planning, tax optimization, estate planning, philanthropy, and even lifestyle management.
    • By offering a wide range of services under one roof, EAMs simplify the complexities of managing substantial wealth and ensure a seamless experience for their clients.

2. How EAMs Differ From Traditional Wealth Management Solutions

When it comes to managing the wealth of UHNW clients, traditional wealth management solutions are often the go-to choice.

However, in recent years, there has been a noticeable rise in the popularity of EAMs.

But what exactly sets EAMs apart from traditional wealth management solutions?

EAMs offer a level of independence that is not typically found in traditional wealth management firms.

  • EAMs are typically independent entities or individuals who work outside of large financial institutions. This independence allows EAMs to provide a more personalized and tailored approach to managing their clients’ assets.
  • Unlike traditional wealth managers who often work within a specific framework or set of products, EAMs have the flexibility to choose from a wide range of investment options. This freedom enables them to create bespoke investment strategies that align with their client’s unique financial goals and risk tolerance.

Another key differentiator is the level of transparency offered by EAMs.

  • While traditional wealth management firms may have complex fee structures and hidden costs, EAMs are known for their transparent and straightforward fee arrangements.
  • Clients can have a clear understanding of the fees they are paying and the services they are receiving, promoting trust and accountability in the client-advisor relationship.

EAMs often prioritize building long-term relationships with their clients.

  • They take the time to truly understand their clients’ financial aspirations, family dynamics, and philanthropic endeavours.
  • This holistic approach allows EAMs to provide comprehensive wealth management solutions that extend beyond traditional investment advice.

EAMs offer a fresh and innovative approach to managing the wealth of UHNW clients. Their independence, flexibility, transparency, and personalized approach set them apart from traditional wealth management solutions.

As the demand for customized and client-centric services continues to grow, EAMs are becoming an increasingly attractive option for those seeking a tailored and holistic approach to wealth management.


3. Factors Contributing To The Increasing Popularity Of EAMs

Several factors have contributed to the surging popularity of EAMs among UHNW clients. Understanding these factors will provide valuable insights into why EAMs have become the go-to choice for managing substantial wealth.

Customized Investment Solutions

  • EAMs offer highly personalized investment solutions tailored to the unique needs and preferences of each client.
  • Unlike traditional wealth management firms, EAMs have the flexibility to design bespoke investment strategies that align with the client’s specific investment goals and risk tolerance.
  • This level of customization is a key factor in attracting UHNW clients who value tailored approaches to wealth management.

Independence and Objectivity

  • EAMs operate independently from financial institutions, giving them freedom from potential conflicts of interest.
  • This independence allows EAMs to provide objective advice and make unbiased investment decisions solely in the best interest of their clients.
  • UHNW individuals often seek out EAMs for their impartiality and the assurance that their wealth is managed solely with their goals in mind.

Access to Exclusive Investment Opportunities

  • EAMs have established extensive networks and relationships with a wide range of investment providers, financial institutions, and alternative investment opportunities.
  • This gives them access to exclusive investment opportunities that may not be readily available to the general public.
  • UHNW clients are attracted to EAMs because they can tap into these exclusive networks and gain access to unique investment avenues, potentially leading to higher returns and diversification.

Enhanced Privacy and Confidentiality

  • EAMs prioritize client confidentiality and privacy, which is of utmost importance to UHNW individuals.
  • Unlike traditional wealth management firms that operate with a larger client base, EAMs typically work with a smaller number of select clients.
  • This exclusivity ensures a higher level of privacy, as EAMs can focus more on protecting sensitive client information and maintaining utmost discretion.

Holistic Wealth Management Services

  • EAMs provide comprehensive wealth management services beyond traditional investment management. They often offer a range of financial services, including estate planning, tax optimization, philanthropic strategies, and family office services.
  • This holistic approach appeals to UHNW clients who seek a one-stop solution for managing their complex financial affairs.

The increasing popularity of EAMs among UHNW clients can be attributed to their ability to offer customized investment solutions, independence, access to exclusive opportunities, enhanced privacy, and holistic wealth management services.

These factors have positioned EAMs as trusted partners in managing and growing substantial wealth for discerning individuals.


4. Key Considerations For UHNW Clients When Selecting An EAM

  • When it comes to selecting an EAM for UHNW clients, several key considerations should not be overlooked.
  • These considerations play a crucial role in ensuring a successful partnership that aligns with the unique needs and objectives of UHNW individuals.
  • First and foremost, reputation and track record are paramount.
    • UHNW clients should thoroughly research and evaluate the EAM’s reputation in the industry, taking into account their years of experience, client testimonials, and performance history.
    • It is essential to choose an EAM with a proven track record of delivering consistent results and maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and integrity.
  • Another crucial consideration is the EAM’s expertise and specialization.
    • UHNW clients often require highly customized and sophisticated wealth management strategies.
    • Therefore, it is important to assess whether the EAM has the necessary expertise and experience to manage the complexities associated with substantial wealth.
    • This may include expertise in tax planning, estate planning, philanthropy, alternative investments, and international wealth management, among others.
  • Accessibility and personalized service are also vital factors to consider.
    • UHNW clients expect a high level of personalized attention and service.
    • They require an EAM who is readily available, responsive, and willing to take the time to understand their unique financial situation, goals, and preferences.
    • The EAM should have a dedicated team that can provide personalized advice and support tailored to the client’s specific needs.
  • Transparency and fee structure are additional considerations that should not be overlooked.
    • UHNW clients should have a clear understanding of the EAM’s fee structure, including any potential conflicts of interest.
    • It is crucial to select an EAM that prioritizes transparency and provides comprehensive reporting on performance, fees, and any potential risks associated with investment strategies.
  • Lastly, the cultural fit between the UHNW client and the EAM should be taken into account.
    • Building a successful long-term relationship requires trust, open communication, and a shared vision.
    • UHNW clients should feel comfortable and confident in the EAM’s ability to understand their values, priorities, and aspirations.

Selecting an EAM is a critical decision for UHNW clients.

By considering the reputation, expertise, accessibility, transparency, and cultural fit of the EAM, UHNW clients can ensure they partner with a trusted advisor who can effectively manage and grow their wealth while maintaining the highest level of personalized service.


5. Potential Challenges And Risks Associated With EAMs

While EAMs offer a range of benefits for UHNW clients, it is crucial to be aware of the potential challenges and risks that may come with this approach.

  • One of the key challenges is the risk of conflicts of interest.
    • EAMs typically work with various clients and may have relationships with different financial institutions.
    • This can create a situation where they are incentivized to prioritize certain products or services that may not align with your best interests.
    • It is important to thoroughly assess the EAM’s independence and ensure that they have a fiduciary duty to act in your best interest.
  • Another challenge is the potential lack of transparency.
    • Unlike traditional wealth management firms that operate within a regulated framework, EAMs may not always be subject to the same level of oversight.
    • This can make it difficult to assess their track record, financial stability, and adherence to industry standards.
    • Conducting thorough due diligence and seeking recommendations from trusted sources can help mitigate this risk.
  • Operational risk is another aspect to consider.
    • EAMs often rely on third-party service providers for various aspects of their operations, such as custodial services or trade execution.
    • Any disruptions or failures within these service providers can have a direct impact on your investments.
    • It is crucial to understand the EAM’s contingency plans and risk management protocols to ensure the continuity and security of your assets.
  • EAMs may have limitations in terms of the range of investment opportunities they can offer.
    • They may have preferred investment strategies or limited access to certain markets, which could potentially impact your portfolio diversification.
    • Evaluating the EAM’s investment approach, expertise, and network can help determine if their offerings align with your investment goals.
    • As with any investment strategy, there is always the risk of market volatility and economic downturns. EAMs are not immune to these factors, and it is important to have a comprehensive risk management plan in place to protect your assets during challenging times.

By being aware of these potential challenges and risks associated with EAMs, you can approach your engagement with them in a more informed and cautious manner.

Thoroughly researching and selecting reputable EAMs, maintaining open communication, and regularly reviewing your investment strategy will help mitigate these risks and ensure a successful partnership.


6. Best Practices For UHNW Clients To Maximize Their Experience With EAMs

To maximize their experience with EAMs, UHNW clients should follow some best practices.

  • Firstly, it is crucial to define your goals and objectives clearly.
    • Communicating your financial aspirations, risk tolerance, and long-term plans with your EAM will enable them to develop a customized investment strategy that aligns with your unique needs.
  • Secondly, maintaining open and transparent communication is essential.
    • Regular meetings and updates with your EAM will ensure that both parties are on the same page and allow for adjustments or realignments as needed. This collaborative approach fosters a strong relationship built on trust and understanding.
  • Diversification is key.
    • UHNW clients should work with their EAMs to diversify their portfolios across various asset classes, geographies, and industries.
    • This helps to mitigate risks and capture potential opportunities in different market conditions.
  • Another best practice is to stay informed and educated about the latest developments in the financial industry.
    • UHNW clients should actively engage with their EAMs to understand the investment strategies being employed and stay updated on market trends and economic indicators.
  • It is important for UHNW clients to regularly review and evaluate the performance of their portfolio with their EAM. By analyzing the returns, risks, and overall performance, adjustments can be made to optimize the investment strategy and ensure it remains aligned with the client’s objectives.

By following these best practices, UHNW clients can maximize their experience with EAMs and achieve their long-term financial goals with confidence and peace of mind.


As the financial landscape continues to evolve, individuals with significant wealth must stay informed about the benefits and considerations of working with EAMs.

Remember, your wealth is worth protecting and growing, and EAMs can be a valuable resource in achieving your financial goals.

When protecting your family, it’s vital to get the right advice. If you’re not sure whether you need to appoint an EAM or set up your own family office (SFO), speak to us over  video consultation via Lawyer Anywhere. We discuss your needs and recommend the best solution for you.

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