Swiss wealth management industry upskills in a new regulatory environment
Gone are the days of the secretive Swiss private bank, and instead it is a jurisdiction seeking to capitalise on a wealth of experience in asset management but facing a whole new landscape. For decades the world’s richest families have headed to Switzerland as a wealth management hub, but with fiscal secrecy no longer working in its favour, things have undergone change.
“I don’t think that people are coming to Switzerland per se anymore,” says Daniel Martineau, executive chairman of Summit Trust International. “They were coming here for a level of expertise and experience that they might not find elsewhere, experience that has built up over decades. The brand of Switzerland was always a positive thing and used to attract clients by itself, but that has changed in the last three years.”
Switzerland is looking, like many others, to bolster its position as a regulated and robust place to seek investment advice and guidance on international estate planning.
“This jurisdiction has an idea that it is going to go to the other end of the scale and become so robust that it is the league leader in terms of quality,” says Martineau. “If we are referring to skill sets, then it’s an admirable goal, but if it means Switzerland is going to become the world’s most difficult place to open a bank account, then I’m not sure clients will find that useful. There has to be a degree of pragmatism that comes into it.”
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