Capturing the Opportunity in the US Mass Affluent Segment

by Isabella Fonseca, June 10, 2008


New York, NY, USA June 10, 2008

The mass affluent client segment offers financial services firms one of the best opportunities to compete and profit today.

In a new report, , Celent and Oliver Wyman examine the US mass affluent market, including customer segmentation, financial products and services, delivery channels, and how to win their business in banking, wealth management, and insurance. The report, written by Celent analysts, was based on research data gathered by Oliver Wyman.

The mass affluent segment of clients, with a USD net worth from $250,000 to $2 million, represents:

  • 31% of the total households and 92% of the wealthy households in the United States.
  • 47% of the total assets and 57% of the assets of the wealthy in the United States.
  • The least risky segment for lending and insurance products.
  • The most poorly served segment in terms of dedicated products and delivery channels.

To dominate this market, firms have to develop:

  • A strong value proposition that reflects the goals and aspirations of the mass affluent while generating sufficient revenue to serve them profitably.
  • A strong brand that resonates with the mass affluent, affirming their status without overreaching by pretending they are interchangeable with high net worth and ultra-high net worth households.
  • A strong marketing message that speaks to their hopes and fears in a manner that is not condescending, not aimed at a lifestyle or affluence they have not yet achieved, and not lumping them in with the mass market, from whose orbit they have achieved escape.
  • A strong and complete menu of products and services developed solely to meet the needs of these households.
  • Effective delivery channels that serve the mass affluent by respecting their time and providing them with access and information when it is convenient for them, not the financial institution.
  • Development of appropriate technologies to provide a high level of service while recognizing the significantly larger population of the mass affluent segment. An appropriate cost servicing model will leverage technology and delivery channels.

"Amazingly, the opportunity to capture the mass affluent is just as open as it was 20 years ago, when firms started identifying this segment as a target. No firm today has effectively captured the mass affluent," says Robert J. Ellis, Senior Vice President of Celent's Wealth Management Group and co-author of the report.

"Only when a firm has delivered an entirety of an offering, complete with products, channels, brand, and marketing in a non-siloed, customer-centric manner, will the true profit potential of the mass affluent be captured," adds Isabella Fonseca, Celent senior analyst and co-author of the report.

This report is a guide for firms interested in targeting the mass affluent segment. The study highlights current models aimed at the mass affluent as well as new ones focusing on banking, wealth management, and insurance businesses.

The report is 36 pages long and contains 16 figures and 3 tables. A table of contents is available online.


Members of Celent's Wealth Management, Life/Health Insurance, and Retail Banking research services can download the report electronically by clicking on the icon to the left.  Non-members should contact for more information.


Celent is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping financial institutions formulate comprehensive business and technology strategies. Celent publishes reports identifying trends and best practices in financial services technology and conducts consulting engagements for financial institutions looking to use technology to enhance existing business processes or launch new business strategies. With a team of internationally based analysts, Celent is uniquely positioned to offer strategic advice and market insights on a global basis. Celent is a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, which is a wholly-owned operating unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

Media Contacts

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Michele Pace
Tel: +1 212 345 1366

Europe (London)
Chris Williams
Tel: +44 (0)782 448 3336

Asia (Tokyo)
Yumi Nagaoka
Tel.: +81 3 3500 3023

Table of Contents

New York, NY, USA June 10, 2008


Executive Summary 3
Definition of the US Mass Affluent Customer Segment 5
Mass Affluent Financial Products and Services 17
Mass Affluent Delivery Channels 22
Winning the Mass Affluent Banking Business 24
Winning the Mass Affluent Wealth Management Business 27
Winning the Mass Affluent Insurance Business 31
Conclusions 36


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