So what did we learn through this study? UHNW individuals want to make a difference. Beyond protecting their wealth, they're actively using it to benefit society. Given the gap between the funding needed and the amount available to tackle issues like the UN SDGs, it is understandable that they feel this sense of purpose.

Of course there is an element of reputation building that plays a part in making ethical investment choices. No surprise in an environment of ever-increasing scrutiny, where the importance of personal brand is being showcased everywhere. But our data clearly demonstrates that UHNW individuals today are being driven by values far beyond the personal. They are engaging more in the direction of their wealth and taking greater financial risks because they care about their impact on others – a fact demonstrated clearly by the desire to leave a legacy of positive change.

Their increasing tendency to be active wealth creators, identifying their own investment opportunities, demonstrates their level of engagement in a more value-led approach to their wealth direction and management. This increasing intention and independence means their advisors need to be absolutely in tune with them, working hand in glove to anticipate areas of interest, helping them understand the potential risks and rewards of certain investments and perhaps drawing their attention to opportunities they may not have otherwise considered.

Private wealth structures are highly complex, and the geopolitical and regulatory landscapes are growing more unpredictable by the year. An international lifestyle and businesses that operate globally also means needing to comply with multiple regulatory and tax regimes. These are all significant challenges. And we've heard directly that UHNW individuals anticipate needing support for dispute resolution, for contentious trusts and estates, and for reputation management, privacy and data protection issues – so those are evidently all areas they're worried about.

Bring all that together and it's clear that this engaged, active, value-led UHNW individual, operating in what is a newly challenging global and economic environment, needs their advisors to perform a wider, more purposeful role than they may have in the past, helping them:

  • leave a positive legacy through philanthropy and ESG investing
  • drive impactful change
  • take a measured approach to tax planning
  • build and protect their reputation in a world of increased transparency and scrutiny.

With a holistic approach and thoughtful advice in the context of the long-term impact and legacy goals of our UHNW clients, we can all play a positive role in funnelling wealth to create positive change.