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Asset Management vs Wealth Management

Asset Management vs Wealth Management

Difference Between Asset Management vs Wealth Management

While we are all working towards earning money in our lifetime, it is equally important to manage that money well so that we achieve our financial goals smoothly. This is equally true for organizations as well. Money Management is especially important for those people who have no financial expertise. Individuals/institutions can take the services of finance professionals to advise them on those matters. There are broadly two categories of private banking services that investors can avail viz. asset management vs wealth management. Based on their requirement, investors need to decide whether they require the services of an asset management firm or a wealth management firm or both.

Asset management refers to the management of assets which could involve investments like equity, fixed income securities, real estate, global investments etc. Asset management firms are concerned with maximizing returns of client’s assets. The asset managers advise on asset allocation, new investment opportunities, risk-return analysis, portfolio strategy formulation etc. Thus asset management is only concerned about the best way to invest and manage one’s money while other financial issues of the client like tax planning, cash flow planning, estate planning etc. are left for the client to figure out.

Wealth management refers to overseeing all the financial aspects of the client and may include management of assets, taxes, estate, cash flows, and all other possible uses of money. Wealth management thus encompasses asset management and takes a holistic view of the client’s finances. The aim of wealth managers is to grow the wealth of investors as well as providing advice for future planning. Wealth management service is especially useful for those who are nearing their retirement to assist them in all their future financial requirements.

Asset Management vs Wealth Management Infographics

Below is the top 7 difference between Asset Management vs Wealth Management:Asset Management Vs Wealth Management Infographics

Key Differences Asset Management vs Wealth Management

Both Asset Management vs Wealth Management are popular choices in the market; let us discuss some of the major Difference Between Asset Management vs Wealth Management:

  • Asset managers manage an individual’s/institution’s investments like stocks, fixed income securities, real estate, and other assets while wealth managers manage all the financial aspects of an individual/institution including asset management, tax planning, education, legacy, and estate planning, cash flow planning, insurance, charitable contributions, retirement planning etc.
  • Asset managers aim at maximizing returns from client’s investments while wealth managers aim at balancing all possible uses of client’s money for preserving and maximizing wealth over the long-run through financial and investment strategies, accounting and tax approaches, and legal and estate planning.
  • Asset managers mostly offer in-house products and are narrower and more sophisticated in their approach since they are primarily investment experts and closer to the market. Wealth managers are mo.
  • re process driven and seek synergy gains through coordination of inputs from financial experts, client’s attorney, accountant, insurance agent, and others.
  • Asset management firms are usually registered as broker-dealers and are only required to offer investment products which are “suitable” for the clients while wealth managers are registered as investment advisors and have a “fiduciary” or legal responsibility to put the client’s financial interests before their own.
  • Asset management compensation has been traditionally commission-based although firms are increasingly shifting to a fee-based model for assets under management. Wealth management compensation has traditionally been retainer fee-based along with a fee for assets under management.

Asset Management vs Wealth Management – Comparison Table

Let’s have a look at the Comparison between Asset Management vs Wealth Management:


Wealth Management

Asset Management

Meaning Refers to the management of all financial aspects of the client. Refers to the management of assets of a client.
Focus Wider focus includes asset management and financial planning. Narrower focus, a subset of wealth management.
Functions Include management of investments/assets and portfolios, tax planning, education planning, legacy planning, estate planning, insurance, charitable contribution, retirement planning. Include management of investments/assets- analyzing past and current data, risk-return analysis, projection, strategy formulation for asset management, identification of “suitable” assets.
Registration Usually registered as investment advisors. Usually registered as broker-dealers.
Responsibility “Fiduciary” responsibility to put client interest before self. Required to offer products “suitable” for the client.
Management approach A process is driven approach involving coordination of inputs from financial experts, lawyers, accountants, insurance agents and others specializations required for financial management. More sophisticated and creative approach since asset managers mostly offers in-house products through their own financial expertise and direct involvement in a market.
Compensation terms Retainer fee based along with a fee for an asset under management which favors impartiality in recommendations. Usually, commission based for product sales which may give rise to a conflict of interest.

Conclusion –Asset Management vs Wealth Management

People often use the terms wealth management vs asset management interchangeably but there are significant differences between the two. While both are used in managing and growing financial resources, service users may seek financial expertise beyond just their investments. Asset management firms help investors to manage their assets by offering advice on identification of “suitable” assets for the client through analysis of past and current trends, risk-return analysis, strategy formulation and appropriate projections in return for a commission.

Wealth management is a more comprehensive financial management service providing assistance in tackling all the financial aspects of the client and includes asset management, financial planning, tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning. An investor seeking such an all-inclusive service may be more inclined towards having a steady relationship with a wealth management firm rather than relying on asset managers only. Some wealth managers provide banking services and guidance on philanthropic activities as well.

Of course, wealth management is more expensive and involves retainer fee along with a fee for an asset under management. In spite of that, it is a less complicated approach for service users wherein a single manager coordinates inputs from financial experts, lawyers, accountants, insurance agents and others needed for planning the client’s current and future financial needs. Wealth managers assist in prioritizing.

If you need help with only your investments, you would need services of an asset manager while if you want somebody to help you with your long-term financial planning aspects apart from asset management, you would need a wealth manager.

Recommended Articles

This has a been a guide to the top difference between Asset Management vs Wealth Management. Here we also discuss the Asset Management vs Wealth Management key differences with infographics and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more-

  1. Accounting vs Financial Management
  2. Hedge Fund vs Mutual Fund
  3. Financial Accounting vs Management Accounting
  4. Importance Between Direct Tax vs Indirect Tax

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Asset Management vs Wealth Management


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