London’s wealthy entrepreneurs are being targeted by a Swiss private bank looking for new customers as banking secrecy laws bite in the cantons. Geneva-based Pictet hope to capture the next generation of clients by widening their net in the UK capital.
‘The newer entrepreneur can sell his first company at the age of 28, or even younger, and will reinvest the majority of the proceeds, but the portion he invests with us is still a substantial amount of money, so that’s a new breed of client,’ Heinrich Adami, group managing director of Pictet, told Spear’s.
For that new breed there’s a premium on investment and reinvestment over frivolous spending: ‘If you see the young social media entrepreneurs they are surprisingly low spenders. They’re all interested in a safe investment strategy and reinvesting everything in their next venture, spending is not really in their mind.’
Such a market is attractive to the bank, which has embarked on a major expansion of its UK office, moving to bigger premises in Mayfair from the City and increasing their team of private bankers.
The move echoes other Swiss expansions into London following new tax evasion laws and the slow demise of Swiss banking secrecy: Credit Suisse took over Morgan Stanley and Julius Baer acquired Merrill Lynch. Meanwhile, in January UBS grew its London assets under management by 15 per cent.
Adami confirmed that the time was right for Pictet in the UK with ‘the attractiveness of London for investors globally. People have confidence in a very solid tax structure, there is confidence from foreigners in the resident non-domicile structure, it has the best education system, and it offers everyone the life they want, there’s interest in real estate. It has the whole package.’
Having already hired senior banking staff expert in res non-doms and Nordics, Adami confirmed Pictet were now predominantly looking for London-based recruits to cater for a new generation – ‘wealth managers that understand their needs and way of life’.
Adami mentioned a broader global strategy that has seen new offices in Munich and Hong Kong but clearly London remains a major prize. Appealing to the new breed can only give better access to a private wealth market now worth £740 billion, according to PAM Insight.