The days of luxury VIP lounges are gone for many private bankers, as the crisis forces them to travel economy to save money.
Thrift has become the new mantra for private banks and, like with many other industry segments already, getting out of the office is allowed only if there are clients to meet.
"We are making sure everything we do is efficient. We travel economy now," says Samir Raslan, Region Head for Central, Northern Europe, Africa and Turkeyat Citi Private Bank.
Citi, one of the big wealth management players that was hit hard in the financial crisis, has gone on a slimming diet and cut about 25 percent of costs and about 20 percent of stuff in the last year.
Raslan says he does not see any more cost cutting, but the no-frill travel rule stays.
Those who tend to avoid posh restaurants in Geneva’s expensive Rue du Rhone district and famed private banks because they believe they are not rich enough may be given a second chance at century-old wealth manager Julius Baer.
The Swiss private bank, which has made its name thanks to the services it offers to the ultra-rich, believe its powerful high-end brand may be keeping potential clients away.
“It’s a bit like the nice chic restaurant on Rue du Rhone you walk by 10 times and think: “I am not so sure I can go in there, it might be a bit sophisticated,” Boris Collardi, Chief Executive of Bank Julius Baer, told the Reuters Wealth Management Summit in Geneva.
“And then you end up going in there and you have a wonderful meal.”
Private banking services at Julius Baer start at around 1 million Swiss francs.