Jim Grubman specializes in consulting to ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) financial advisors, wealth management firms and family offices. Based on his extensive experience in working with families and advisory firms, he has developed training modules about a multitude of topics relevant for working at the UHNW level. A few examples:
Each training module is tailored to the audience’s specific needs and is integrated with other modules in terms of content and style. In general, Jim provides consultation to firms using three fundamental approaches:
Training of client relationship skills needed by advisors to work well with UHNW families. These include how to communicate in ways that foster trust in the client relationship, how to listen well and respond with empathy, how to talk with clients about technical information using natural-language explanations, and how to assess the complexity of clients' personal and family dynamics in order to deliver services efficiently and effectively. Training utilizes realistic role-playing of common client situations in order to explain, demonstrate, and build skills so advisors can implement their new knowledge in real-world client interactions.
Education about areas where psychology, family dynamics and advising intersect in wealth management.These include how to understand the family-dynamics aspects of trusts, prenuptial agreements, philanthropy, and family business, as well as how to respond effectively to clients with health issues (aging, dementia, ADHD, medical illnesses), families needing help with governance and decision-making, and families struggling with overspending. Included in this education is ongoing case consultation to help improve current client relationships, solve or prevent impasses with clients, and implement the learning demonstrated in role-plays and didactic presentations.
Organizational consulting that helps wealth management firms and family offices deliver great client service with both technical competency and relationship skill. Simply training a few advisors in some skills and services is usually not enough for a firm to go from good to great. The strategic direction of the firm, the management skills of the executives, and the client service competencies of advisors are aligned and integrated.
Consulting activities include on-site one- or two-day workshops; conference calls via phone, Skype, or GoToMeeting; client case consultation advice via phone or email; coaching of individual advisors or advisor teams; and, review of client communication materials to improve clarity and impact.
Family dynamics and wealth intersect powerfully in the area of estate planning. Jim Grubman assists families and their advisors in working through the natural dilemmas of inheritance and wealth transfer. He is experienced in helping clients think through solutions that strike a balance among often-competing interests and goals. To help families approach the anxiety-producing process of open discussion, he is skilled in facilitating family meetings using good communication guidelines for safe, effective negotiation and resolution of issues. He also does training, speaking, and consulting with attorneys and wealth management professionals about clients' family dynamics around wealth transfer.
Jim Grubman has collaborated on a ground-breaking new approach to discretionary trust design with attorney Jon Gallo and psychotherapist Eileen Gallo, the well-known authors of Silver Spoon Kids and The Financially Intelligent Parent, at Gallo Consulting. The new design is called the Financial Skills Trust (FST). It focuses on beneficiaries' skills for handling money responsibly, not on how beneficiaries make choices about career, jobs, level of education, or work ethic that may be desired by trust creators such as parents or grandparents. It supports the autonomy of beneficiaries while holding them accountable for good financial self-management. The FST has many advantages compared to common methods of trust design such as incentive trusts or the use of an ascertainable standard for trustee discretion. The principles of this type of trust are part of the Results Oriented Trust Environment™ or ROTE™. The concepts of the ROTE™ have been drawn from the recent trend toward similar principles in the workplace, called the Results-Only Work Environment or ROWE.
The first description of the FST and ROTE™ was presented in January of 2011 at the 45th Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, sponsored by the University of Miami School of Law. Two shorter articles were published in the April 2011 issue of the Journal of Financial Planning which summarized the problems with attempting to use money as an incentive in trusts (Part I) and the basic design of the new Financial Skills Trust (Part II). Pdfs of these articles are available for download in the For Advisors: Resources section.
Jim Grubman provides consultation and training about the use of the Financial Skills Trust to families and advisors, either alone or in conjunction with the Gallos.
Jim Grubman is available for presentations to family-office-level conferences, client forums and philanthropic groups on topics related to wealth, family dynamics, raising children with affluence, and wealth management. His style is dynamic, humorous, and relaxed, using visual presentations that are colorful and graphical rather than the typical text-based bullet-point slides seen in financial presentations.