INTERVIEW: How Can Swiss Wealth Management Thrive In The Future?
It is often said that Switzerland’s heavily populated field of banks and wealth management houses is ripe for consolidation as margin pressures bite, but any M&A shakeout doesn’t mean only the largest firms win. So, how can Swiss Wealth Management thrive in the future?
That is the view of Daniel Aghdami, founder of is a direction where a number of banks are going and
where they have strengths at the group level.
Most banks are establishing or investing in teams who are able to broaden the bank’s relationships
with their UHNW clients, and in turn providing those clients with greater access to value adding services to other parts of their lives and businesses. Examples include early movers Credit Suisse’s Solution Partners, UBS’s Corporate Advisory Group and Deutsche Bank’s Key Client Partners,” he
Watch the talent
Talent remains a key differentiator and accelerator for change in the market, and such “needle tippers” are highly valued in the market, Aghdami said.
The Swiss wealth industry has in the past had a blinkered view of the kind of people who made good
wealth managers, assuming that only those who had already worked in the sector could bring
understanding. That is changing, he said. There is a recognition that ideas and methodologies from
other industries can help streamline processes, innovate offerings and cut costs in wealth management.
He said the amount of emphasis people place on DART’s advisory role has grown against this
“We get a lot of requests for expertise and consulting from the candidate side and from the client side.
It often starts with validating if there is the talent available for the objectives that they have.
The market and our role therein has changed over the years. With the overall employment numbers in
wealth management in Switzerland falling over the last three years the volume of available people
and interest in open positions has risen markedly, presenting banks with a new problem –how to cope with the volume,” he said.
With claims that Switzerland is losing its edge – not to mention feeling the pains of negative
interest rates (see here) – it is easy to fall into pessimism. Aghdami states, however, that there
are reasons for taking a more cheerful line. With the rise and success of client focused and investment-oriented multifamily offices in Switzerland, the larger banks are responding by developing
more institutional style access to investments and their platforms for such financial intermediaries.
“We expect the FIM business to grow as a source of revenues for banks as the number of sophisticated
FIMs/ MFOs in Switzerland grows,” he said.
“The feedback we have received from clients is that people outside Switzerland will say that technical competence can, on average, be higher in London or New York but the unique thing about Switzerland
is the strength of the relationships between banks and clients. The markets
in EMEA will benefit from some cross-pollination of those skills.
We have been moving a lot of people around the region to source the required skill sets,” Aghdami said.
“We need to have people with a commercial, service-orientated and entrepreneurial skill set,” he said.
However, such a move must not involve product pushing or short-term thinking. Such a
business also mustn’t be “ego-orientated” but have a clear focus on the importance of team work.