Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

from Blogs Dashboard:

Count on it: in three generations your rich client will be poor

It turns out that advisers to ultra-rich aren’t always so flush themselves. So, what happens, if, say, you spend a day on your client’s fancy yacht, then go back to your own tiny dinghy?

It’s simpler, more elegant . . . or just smaller.

“It’s an awkward position you’re in when you’re dealing with high net worth individuals and families because even if you have a pretty nice lifestyle at home you go on a trip and visit three or four clients and you come home at the end of the day and say, ‘Wow, how do I suffer through this five bedroom house and four bathrooms, and woe is me,’” BNY Mellon Wealth Management Managing Director of Family Wealth Services Thomas Rogerson told the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in Boston.

“I think that advisors that work with high net worth families very often have to struggle with that issue,” he said.

Rogerson is a funny case. He, himself, is heir to a fortune. His great grandfather was president of Boston Safe Deposit and Trust, a Massachusetts state-chartered bank taken over by Mellon, and started the Boston Foundation and Rogerson Communities philanthropic organizations. But, the money is essentially gone.

Private Bank finds synergy in public bar

It is a little known fact that private bank Wegelin, Switzerland’s oldest bank is also active in the bars and restaurants business.

In its ‘Nonolet’ bars – a play on the Latin saying pecunia non olet (money doesn’t stink) – in St. Gallen and in Geneva, hedge fund managers and other financial professionals rub shoulders with other locals in the early evening over sparkling wine or champagne and snacks.

Swiss brand key to banks’ cache

One question kept coming up when I announced four years ago that I was moving from Washington to Geneva: ”Will you get a Swiss bank account?” There is an unmistakeable international cache surrounding Switzerland’s financial sector, whose infamy as a hiding place for Nazi gold has given way to Hollywood mystique about secretive numeric codes cracked by Da Vinci Code protagonists and James Bond.  But within the small Alpine country, which remains stubbornly outside the European Union despite sharing borders with France, Germany, Austria and Italy, bankers are in fact celebrated for being as dull as they are discrete.  Christian Raubach, managing partner of Switzerland’s oldest bank, Wegelin & Co, told the Reuters Wealth Management Summit that the biggest Swiss banks rely on their “Swissness and security and boringness” to attract clients from abroad. Guillaume Lejoindre, managing director at the Swiss private banking arm of France’s Societe Generale, said it was precisely this reputation that made Switzerland such a powerful financial power, even in an age when total secrecy has been abolished and big institutions like UBS admit to taking big risks akin to those that took down Lehman Brothers.  Droves of Saudi and Gulf banking clients file into Geneva to spend the summer with their families every year and wealthy Latin Americans are also clearly inclined to store their funds in Switzerland to try to make them less likely kidnapping and extortion targets. The strong overall brand means that the banks can charge a premium over other centres and also continue to draw in new funds even in dark economic times.  “What is the price of trust and confidence? What is the price of expertise? We all know that a Hermes bag is more expensive. Is it a problem? I don’t think so,” the Societe Generale executive said.  In this way, much like Swiss watches, Swiss hotels, Swiss chocolate and Swiss beauty creams, the biggest asset even the most endowed Swiss bank has is clearly its brand — which may actually hold more value internationally than at home.

from Blogs Dashboard:

Wealth education: one pretention too much?

The ultra wealthy have finally found something that is too pretentious.


English-style horseback riding lessons? Fine. Summers split between five different country houses? Also fine. 


But, how about enforced wealth education for the next generation? As in, teaching the kids how different types of investments actually work and how to enjoy the family fortune without instantly frittering it away? Now that smacks of pretension, especially for the kids, who are used to spending the 'rents riches without having to think too hard about the dirty green stuff itself.

No-frills travel is on for private bankers

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.

Private banking: you may be worth it


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.

Geneva is for wealth management


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.

Welcome to the 2009 Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit

A year after the implosion of Lehman Brothers, private banking leaders will gather in Geneva, Boston, Tokyo and Singapore on October 5

– 7 to share their views about the future of wealth management across the globe.The industry is at a crossroad. After the Madoff scandal and the collapse of bank secrecy in Switzerland and other major offshore banking centres many players have to rethink their banking model and work hard to regain their clients’ trust.

Wealth Management: What does the future hold?

Even the rich aren’t as well-off as they were a year ago but that’s not stopping the wealth management industry from focusing on what the future of private banking will look like after the economic downturn has passed. Click below to view my latest story:

Politicians get into restructuring

It’s a different kind of restructuring business these days, with politicians picking up the phone to try to put their two cents in too, Moelis & Co.’s Thane Carlston said during the Reuters Restructuring Summit.

“I don’t think there have ever been more calls placed on behalf of companies by governors, senators and congressman. And it does have an impact and it’s not just in the auto industry.”