Scoring Taylor Swift Tickets and setting up elephant processions: Private bankers dish on the ways they pamper ultra-rich clients

  • Bank’s richest clients get perks like tickets to sold-out concerts and medical evacuation services.
  • Firms like Morgan Stanley and Rockefeller Capital hire vendors to provide these bells and whistles.
  • Private-client execs and a concierge vendor told Insider their top perks, including an elephant procession.

Even though the ultra-rich can afford almost anything, that doesn’t guarantee access, especially to sold-out games or limited-edition luxury items.

Many banks and wealth managers work hard to make these dreams come true in order to gain favor with this elite clientele. Many clients are willing to pay top dollar for coveted Taylor Swift tickets but are unable to locate them, and they have asked their advisors for assistance in locating them. They are also interested in private jet charters and personal shoppers. Advisors do this by requesting favors, but many financial institutions hire vendors to provide these perks around the clock.

Clients are not always swayed by lifestyle advisory services when switching firms. According to Morgan Stanley’s Valerie Wong Fountain, banks can foster client loyalty by assisting them in seeing their favorite team win the Super Bowl or finding the right medical specialist after a serious diagnosis.

“We have been very intentional about providing additional resources to our ultra-high-net-worth client base so that they think of Morgan Stanley beyond their investments — they think of Morgan Stanley for their family,” Valerie Wong Fountain, who oversees the bank’s family office resources arm, explained.

Most firms outsource these luxury services, even if clients don’t know it

Clients of Morgan Stanley with at least $10 million in non-retirement assets, for example, have access to 60-plus specialist providers who can assist with everything from college admissions counseling to medical evacuations. The platform is free, and vendors frequently offer discounted rates on their services.

These services are also provided by third parties for Rockefeller Capital Management. According to Grace Yoon, who oversees strategic partnerships and community impact at the wealth manager, privacy and cybersecurity are top of mind for clients. Rockefeller has referred clients who have been victims of identity theft to security providers, who visit the clients’ various properties to check for vulnerabilities, review login and password combinations, and dispose of old equipment that could be compromised. (Yoon declined to name the provider).

According to Gaby Stanley of Ten Lifestyle Group, many financial institutions prefer white-labeling, which involves repackaging services with the banks’ branding. Coutts, HSBC, and Merrill Lynch are among the UK-based concierge clients.

“Because everything is white labeled, when we get someone’s children tickets to Taylor Swift, it’s not Ten Group doing it; it’s the bank’s concierge doing it,” Stanley, a business development director, explained. “That’s really important to create stickiness to the brand and sort of drive that brand loyalty.”

This slew of vendors manages everything from elephant processions to holiday shopping

Ten has 23 offices around the world to service the world’s super-rich. Ten arranged for an Easter Bunny to deliver easter eggs to his young children in their hotel room for a US client visiting the UK with his family. Another client’s 50th birthday extravaganza was planned by the concierge, who flew in guests and organized a pizza-making lesson, dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant, and a hangover brunch.

Many of the requests aren’t about money, but about connections. According to Stanley, Ten was able to close down a major shopping street in London so that the client could ride an elephant to his wedding ceremony, which is an Indian tradition. Through pre-allocated tickets at specific venues, the firm obtains exclusive tickets to sold-out events.

Clients can save money by using Ten to get face-value tickets or member rates, but the real benefit, she says, is saving time. Ten can delegate time-consuming tasks, such as locating a limited-edition whiskey produced only 10 times per year or researching hidden gems in Japan.

“It’s about where we can add that value and make that extra special for them,” she went on to say.

Private-bank advisor Paul Yates says his high-net-worth clients don’t need him for travel concierge because they can get it through Bank of America’s credit card benefits program. Based in Fort Lauderdale, the world’s yachting capital, he takes pride in his ability to solve problems for yacht owners. When one client, the owner of a sports team, wanted to dock his yacht in an overcrowded marina during the Miami Super Bowl, Yates was able to convince another yacht owner to leave to make room. He also assists with charters and introduces new yacht owners to a client who manufactures waterslides and seabobs.

“If there’s anything in the yacht world I need, there are three people I can call, and I can get it done,” the senior vice president said.

According to Yates, private-bank advisors help each other out by providing Miami Heat tickets to out-of-state advisors’ clients when they visit Florida.

However, he believes that being available and picking up the phone is more important than the bells and whistles.

“It’s no different than anything else that’s a service,” said Yates, who began her career as a teller at Bank of America. “You just have to do it with white gloves.”

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