Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Geneva is for wealth management

October 5, 2009

Even for an American who’s not wealthy, Geneva has a reputation as a global centre for wealth management – the place the world’s rich come to stash their money and (they hope) make it grow.

    But you don’t necessarily expect it to be so aggressive — after all, the rich tend to be demure when it comes to their banking.

    Imagine one reporter’s surprise, then, on arriving in the airport in Geneva and seeing bank ads everywhere. Think of the casino adds in Las Vegas’s McCarron Airport or the technology ads in San Jose’s Mineta Airport: it’s the exactly the same in Geneva, only with wealth managers.

    Look left – there’s UBS. Look right – there’s Julius Baer. Look up in the baggage queue – there’s a Swiss bank that emphasises a focus on the Arab world. A complete unscientific guesstimate suggests the display ads in the terminal run about 75 percent wealth management and 25 percent fine watches. (No surprise that every other storefront in the Ville Centre area of Geneva has watches on offer.)

    There is one plus to all of the bank ads in the airport for the less wealthy though. Tell your cab driver to head toward their addresses and you’re likely to find the city’s best cafes.

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