Banks and Investment Managers
Banks and Investment Managers are typically the most frequent point of interface with your financial affairs. It pays to spend some extra time getting this choice right from the beginning whenever possible.
It may seem that the business proposition of most banks is very commoditised in the present market but this is not the case. All banks have different levels of expertise in different market segments and different profile appetites for new customers.
For example, we have many clients who find it difficult to get property financing through the traditional mortgage route. Some of the Private Banks will offer limited mortgages, perhaps just in Switzerland, some not at all, and some are very flexible, offering secured and unsecured mortgages in many jurisdictions. It will make your life so much simpler if the bank you choose is matched to your needs, both now and in the future. Interest rates are low and for many entrepreneurial minded people, it makes sense to borrow to avail of opportunities rather than having to divest other assets to raise cash.
On the investment side, it is fair to say that there has been a lot of standardisation with the trend to passive investing. On the back of this, there has been a lot of interest in what would have been termed alternative investments. E.g. Private Equity, Venture Capital, Real Estate and Impact Investing. Some institutions have long standing and comprehensive offerings in this area, some have no presence in these types of investments and many try to imagine that they have, without really understanding these markets. If you think that you may be interested in these non-publicly traded markets it is crucial to evaluate your choice of bank bearing this in mind.
If you are an active and seasoned investor it is also advisable to dig deep into the trading platform of the financial institution that you may be considering. Some of the banks and investment managers have really embraced the digital age with extensive real-time trading options and constantly updated account dashboards. Others are not quite there yet or try to outsource a lot of the trading desk operations.
Maybe you will need a bank that can handle the transactions for your Yacht or Private Jet. There are a few banks that both want to and can do this type of operation. Making the right choice will ensure that these important tasks are taken care of in a professional manner.
It is important to remember that although a good personal relationship with your banker is obviously an asset, this should not be your overriding concern. Staff change often, in what is a very fluid employment sector so it is very advisable to look deeper into what is the real DNA of the institution and base your decisions on their business profile. They really are very different and asking the right questions early on will help you make the right connections.
Depending on your requirements it may also be worth considering using an external asset manager and a custodian bank. This is a way of establishing a banking relationship but not having to rely on them for all investment decisions.
We also have several solutions for US nationals both resident and non-resident.
We have extensive dealings with most of the Private Banks in Switzerland and can help you make the right decisions to save you precious time now and in the future.