Asset Management vs Wealth Management

Mariam Abu HusseinLegal Assessment Specialist @ Lawhive
Updated on 5th December 2023

Understanding finance can be a maze, especially when terms like "asset management" and "wealth management" come up. Knowing the difference is crucial if you're starting your financial journey or rethinking your strategy.


This article discusses:

  • The difference between asset management and wealth management

  • How to choose the right one for you

What is asset management?

Asset management oversees and grows financial assets by strategically and professionally managing investments like stocks, bonds, real estate, and securities. The goal is to maximise returns while effectively managing risk.

Let's look at it in a simpler way: Asset management is like being the captain of a team, but instead of a sports team, it's a team of investments. Imagine you have a collection of valuable players (these are your assets - like stocks or bonds). Asset managers (usually financial professionals or firms) are the experts who decide how to use these players (your assets) to win the financial game and make the most money for their team (which could be individuals, companies, or organisations).

So, just like a sports coach decides which players should be on the field, when to put them in, and how to play the game, asset managers decide which investments to buy or sell, when to make those moves, and how to grow the overall value of their team's "portfolio."

Their goal is to score financial points by making smart choices with these investments. It's like playing a strategic game with money, and the asset manager's job is to make sure their team (your investments) performs the best it can in the financial game. They study the players (assets), the game (market trends, risk tolerance, investment time), and come up with winning strategies to help your money grow over time.

What is wealth management? 

Wealth management involves a more holistic approach to managing an individual's or family's financial well-being and long-term prosperity, including investment and tax planning, estate and retirement planning, and risk management.

For example, you're the star player on your financial team, and the wealth manager is your coach. Their job is to understand what you want to achieve - whether it's buying a house, funding your education, or planning for a comfortable retirement. They take a look at your entire financial game, and personal goals, not just one aspect.

Just like planning a winning strategy before a big game, wealth managers help you create a roadmap for your financial future. They consider things like your income, expenses, and what you want to achieve, and then come up with a game plan to get you there. The goal is to grow and preserve wealth while providing a route for broader financial success and security.

Asset management vs wealth management: key differences

Asset management, is more focused on the optimisation of investment portfolios. Whilst wealth management is a more comprehensive and personalised service that goes beyond managing investments to addressing various aspects of a client's financial life.

Let's look at the key differences between asset management and wealth management:

Asset Management

Wealth Management


Primarily focuses on managing investments.

Encompasses a broader range of financial services beyond investment management.


Limited to optimising the performance of a portfolio.

Considers various aspects of an individual's financial life, aiming for holistic financial well-being.

Services Offered

Investment decision-making and portfolio optimisation.

Investment planning, tax optimisation, estate planning, retirement planning, and risk management.

Client Focus

Primarily focused on maximising investment returns.

Focuses on achieving broader financial goals and addressing various financial needs.

Wealth management vs asset management: which is right for you

Deciding between wealth management and asset management depends on your financial goals, needs, and desired guidance level.

Consider some of the below factors when choosing the best approach for you.

What are your financial goals?

  • Asset Management: Ideal if your primary focus is on optimising investment returns and managing a portfolio of assets.

  • Wealth Management: Suitable if you have broader financial goals, including estate planning, retirement planning, and comprehensive financial well-being.

What level of financial planning do you need?

  • Asset Management: Suited for individuals who mainly need assistance with investment decision-making and portfolio optimisation.

  • Wealth Management: Appropriate if you seek comprehensive financial planning beyond just investment management.

Do you have more holistic financial needs, or investment?

  • Asset Management: Ideal for those focused on investment performance.

  • Wealth Management: Suitable for a comprehensive financial approach, including taxes, estate planning, and risk management.

What is your risk tolerance?

  • Asset Management: Geared towards managing the risk and return of your investment portfolio.

  • Wealth Management: Considers a broader range of risks, including those related to estate planning, taxes, and overall financial stability.

What is the complexity of your financial situation?

  • Asset Management: Works well for individuals with relatively straightforward financial situations.

  • Wealth Management: Beneficial for those with complex financial scenarios requiring a more nuanced and comprehensive approach.

What planning time frames do you have?

  • Asset Management: Suited for those primarily focused on short to medium-term investment goals.

  • Wealth Management: Ideal for individuals with long-term financial planning needs, including retirement and generational wealth considerations.

Can a solicitor help with asset and wealth management?

While solicitors are not typically involved in day-to-day asset or wealth management activities, they play crucial roles in legal aspects related to these areas.

Solicitors can provide essential services and guidance in the following areas:

Estate Planning:

Solicitors assist in creating wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

They help select appropriate legal structures for managing assets, such as setting up trusts or forming legal entities.

Tax Planning:

Solicitors can provide advice on tax implications related to your assets and wealth, helping you optimise your tax position.

Real Estate Transactions:

For individuals with real estate assets, solicitors handle legal aspects of property transactions, ensuring compliance with regulations.

Family Law and Divorce:

In cases of family law matters or divorce, solicitors play a role in the equitable distribution of assets and addressing legal complexities.

Business and Corporate Law:

For individuals with business assets, solicitors assist in matters related to business formation, contracts, and legal compliance.

Dispute Resolution:

Solicitors can resolve disputes related to assets or wealth, whether through negotiation, mediation, or legal proceedings.

Probate and Administration:

In the event of a person's death, solicitors assist in the probate process, ensuring a smooth transfer of assets to beneficiaries.

Solicitors don't make daily investment decisions in asset management, but they're crucial in addressing the legal complexities of your assets and wealth. Collaborating with financial professionals ensures a comprehensive approach to managing your financial well-being.

Get help with estate planning from Lawhive

For help with estate planning or other money matters, Lawhive solicitors are on hand to provide personalised advice for affordable fixed fees. To get started, just tell us about your case to get a case assessment and a no-obligation quote for the help you need.

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