Ten best wealth management banks in Switzerland – that will be the topic of today’s article.
What are the best banks in Switzerland? Before commenting further, it’s worth saying that I have long been a critic of most traditional banks versus online firms.
I have previously written negative reviews about RBC Wealth Management and how many UK banks have closed expat bank accounts. In these articles, I have explained the huge negative associated with leading banks.
These cons include high and/or hidden fees or an emphasis on in-house funds and products, as was the case with my HSBC Expat review.
Table of Contents
Switzerland is one of the leading and most competitive financial centers in the world. Approximately a quarter of all global cross-border assets are managed in Switzerland. The Swiss financial center is also a leader in transaction finance and a key international center for insurance and reinsurance.
Switzerland has always been associated with wealth management, banking and finance, along with skiing and Toblerone. The enormous global stature of some of the biggest private banks in Switzerland today upholds this reputation.
Therefore, Switzerland boasts a large number of banks and insurance companies. The main financial centers are Zurich and Geneva, both of which have an international reputation, with Lugano in third place. The Swiss financial sector is the cornerstone of the Swiss economy and generates about 10% of GDP.
Switzerland has adopted global standards in the areas of taxation, prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, and financial market stability. It has also created an appropriate regulatory framework to enable the financial sector to provide high-quality products and services and remain innovative, for example by removing barriers to market entry for fintech companies.
Wealth Management is an investment advisory service that brings together other financial services to meet the needs of wealthy clients.
It is a consultative process during which the consultant collects information about the client’s desires and develops an individual strategy using appropriate financial products and services.
An asset manager or wealth manager is a type of financial advisor who uses a range of available financial disciplines such as financial and investment advice, legal or estate planning, accounting and tax services, and retirement planning to manage the wealth of a wealthy client for fixed fee.
Wealth managers typically target the very rich and may have expertise in financial matters that affect the super rich, such as inheritance tax evasion. They often coordinate the services of different professionals, such as working with a lawyer or accountant on your behalf.
Is it worth managing capital?
A wealth manager should be able to help with all your financial planning needs, including, for example, managing the tax implications of business income and setting up a donor-recommended fund for your charitable contributions.
Financial planners may offer similar services to wealth managers, but they often allow you to purchase services of choice. For example, if all you need is help figuring out how you will meet your retirement income needs, some financial planners will work with you to create a retirement plan and you will pay solely for that service.
Whether you need help with estate planning, specialized tax help, or investment advice, it may be worth getting professional help now to protect and preserve your assets in the future.
Benefits of Wealth Management
Wealth management is the key to retirement. Retirement planning is one of the most important reasons that money management can address.
With the ever-increasing cost of living, it is very difficult to bear the cost even after retirement. A pension alone is not enough to maintain a normal lifestyle.
It helps to make a financial plan: money management services help investors build their body in a balanced and systematic way. Wealth managers have the skills to help them understand client needs and financial goals.
They are taken into account when developing financial strategies. Your money manager spends a lot of time understanding your needs and helping you achieve as many financial goals as possible.
It helps relieve financial stress: Wealth counselors have a good understanding of financial uncertainty. They are experienced in making important financial decisions for you should the need arise.
Wealth management consultants can help you manage your finances in the toughest market conditions that can often lead to stress.
They help you prioritize financial decisions based on a schedule. Your advisor takes all your financial considerations into account when setting your goals and also helps you organize your funds from time to time.
You can count on personalized services: Asset managers understand that there is no one size fits all formula when it comes to asset management. In this way, each individual client receives the personalized services of a dedicated asset manager.
Your dedicated asset manager develops financial strategies tailored to your personal requirements. He serves as your financial advisor and confidant.
You can contact your manager at any time and discuss your expectations with him while he tries to fulfill them by creating various strategies for creating wealth in the near and distant future.
They work on a relationship basis: your wealth manager is constantly thinking about your financial well-being, so when the need arises, he agrees with you as a friend.
They are not interested in impressing you with financial jargon, but rather spend their time helping you navigate turbulent financial waters. They also help you make more informed investment decisions.
Wealth managers use this relationship-based approach, through which you can have a healthy exchange of ideas and views and formulate various financial strategies.
Banking System in Switzerland
In Switzerland, banks are governed by FINMA, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority. More than 50% of all deposits in Switzerland are held by the two biggest banks, UBS and Credit Suisse. The components of the Swiss banking system are:
- Big banks
- Foreign banks
- Raiffeisen Group – Cooperative banks
- Private banks
- Cantonal Banks – Government-owned commercial banks that account for around 30% of the banks in Switzerland
Switzerland’s banking system is secure because of favourable business conditions. A significant worsening of Switzerland’s operating environment as a result of the still-active coronavirus pandemic, however, could present a problem.
The Swiss are world leaders in private banking and wealth management for individuals, with a worldwide reputation for protecting the privacy of their clients. Leading Swiss banks are also key players in the Swiss economy.
Switzerland is known for its strong banking sector, which has played a key role in the national economy for more than two centuries. Many Swiss banks are investment banks serving global investors and specializing in asset management. However, there are also banks that offer day-to-day financial services.
Swiss banks and financial services contribute about 9.4% to the Swiss economy. There are currently 252 operating banks in the country and about 40.8 bank branches per 100,000 inhabitants.
The banking sector in Switzerland is diverse and consists of four large major banks and 24 cantonal banks, as well as numerous investment banks, regional savings banks, international banks and one Raiffeisenbank. In addition to this, 382 new fintech companies offering financial services have emerged.
The Financial Market Services Authority (FINMA) regulates Swiss banks, and the Swiss National Bank is the country’s central bank. Most banks are members of the Association of Swiss Bankers.
The Swiss have become world leaders in private banking and wealth management for individuals. Switzerland is known for its sophisticated and confidential banking services. Opening a bank account in Switzerland can be more difficult for non-residents; recent laws have changed the basis of Swiss banking secrecy.
Banks and financial institutions play an important role in the Swiss economy. The Swiss franc is one of the most stable world currencies. The two largest Swiss banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, are among the leading banks in the world.
Most Swiss banks are investment banks focused entirely on asset management. They usually cater to wealthy investors, but there are some opportunities for people with a more modest portfolio.
You can find ATMs all over Switzerland. In total, there are about 6990 ATMs in the country. ATMs are usually located in bank branches in both large and small cities. Banks issue Swiss francs, but many also issue euros, although they may not offer the best exchange rate.
Most machines accept Visa and Mastercard. Some also accept American Express cards. Withdrawal limits vary, but are usually up to CHF 5,000 per day. If you use a foreign debit or credit card at a Swiss ATM, you generally have to pay a fee; check with your banking service provider. Some Swiss banks partner with foreign banks and waive these transaction fees. Again, check with your ISP.
You can find the nearest ATM in Switzerland for Visa, Mastercard and American Express.
Why are Swiss banks better?
Historically Swiss banking offered:
- confidentiality for investors;
- often favorable tax situation;
- very low corruption;
- stable and strong economy
However, recent legislation aimed at cracking down on tax evasion and preventing international money laundering has undermined the secrecy of prominent Swiss bankers, turning the country into a financial haven rather than a tax haven.
With that said, banking regulations are strict all over the world these days. Thus, today Switzerland does not outperform most other offshore jurisdictions.
If you invest in a Swiss bank in Switzerland, it will comply with Swiss law. A branch of a Swiss bank in another country may comply with both Swiss and local laws.
Swiss bank investment accounts are available in several currencies, including Swiss francs, US dollars and euros. If you plan to invest in Swiss francs, consider whether the costs of transferring and converting money will equal any potential return.
Restrictions on foreign investment in Switzerland
Swiss banks do not restrict foreign investment. However, they do their best to identify clients and ensure that the funds they accept do not come from illegal activities. You may be asked to verify your identity and address, as well as your personal details and employment history, and much of this documentation will need to be verified.
The Swiss financial market is highly regulated. During the financial crisis, Swiss banks sometimes offer negative interest rates to foreign investors in order to protect the Swiss economy, which will reduce the return on investment during such periods.
But in this article, we will mainly focus on asset management banks in Switzerland, review them and talk about the main features. The best banks we found through our research were:
- Credit Suisse
- Lombard Odier Privat Bank
- EFG International
- Zurich Cantonal Bank
10 Best Wealth Management Banks in Switzerland
The first bank on our list is UBS. I have previously reviewed UBS in Monaco, which is different from what is in Switzerland, and UBS asset management.
It should come as no surprise that UBS is one of the best wealth management banks in Switzerland and is the biggest private bank in the country.
UBS is actually far ahead of any other bank in the world in terms of assets with just under $2.5 trillion. With a combined $2.06 trillion in assets, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are ranked 2nd and 3rd, respectively, on the global scale.
To reflect its shift from investment banking to wealth management, UBS combined its Wealth Management and Wealth Management Americas divisions in February 2018 to form the new Global Wealth Management division.
After the 1862-founded Union Bank of Switzerland and the 1872-founded Swiss Bank Corporation merged in 1998, UBS was born. With seven main offices around the world, it is the biggest bank in Switzerland.
The bank’s headquarters are in Zurich, and it offers services for wealth management, asset management, and investment banking. A division of UBS AG is UBS Switzerland AG.
UBS is one of the world’s largest money managers. This company provides a variety of financial advice and solutions to various clients around the world, where UBS financial advisors have full access to numerous tools and research.
The operational structure of UBS Wealth Management consists of four business units and group functions, each of which is dedicated to a specific type of activity.
Small investors wishing to open an account with UBS Wealth Management have several options. They can invest their money in UBS Managed Portfolio where the minimum account size can be as low as $5,000.
The Managed Portfolio Program is a discretionary program, which means that your money manager has full discretion to make investment decisions at their own discretion.
Another option is the UBS Consulting Portfolio program. Like the portfolio managed by UBS, this is a discretionary program. However, it has a higher minimum account size of $10,000. It is partly based on an algorithm for constantly adjusting the asset allocation in your portfolio.
UBS also offers a range of non-discretionary programs where the client makes all the decisions. These include PACE Select with a minimum account size of $10,000 and UBS Strategic Advisor with a minimum account size of $50,000.
PACE is a mutual fund-only program, so investments made through a PACE account are limited to mutual funds. The UBS Strategy Advisor is more flexible, allowing you to invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), fixed income securities and other asset classes.
UBS also offers programs for institutions and high net worth individuals through UBS Asset Management. Minimum account sizes with UBS Asset Management start at $15 million.
2. Credit Suisse
- Investment Banking
- Private Banking
- Asset Management
- A shared services group that serves as the other three divisions’ marketing and support arm
Credit Suisse has approximately 49,000 employees and operates in 50 nations. Swiss Universal Bank, International Wealth Management, and Asia-Pacific are three divisions of the bank that cater to specific geographic markets.
Credit Suisse has had a difficult few years recently, spending 2015–18 putting a comprehensive restructuring plan into action. This was done in an effort to lessen its exposure to investment banking and increase its focus on wealth management, which is seen as more lucrative and less capital intensive.
This culminated in the announcement of a share repurchase program in January 2019 and the publication by Credit Suisse of its first annual profit since 2014 for the twelve months ending in December 2018.
In April, Credit Suisse reported an 8% increase in net income attributable to shareholders.
With a presence in 50 countries, Credit Suisse has about 48,200 employees. The bank serves clients through three regional divisions: Swiss Universal Bank, International Wealth Management and Asia-Pacific. As of 2019, the bank’s total income was US$2.53 billion and total assets were US$858 billion.
All individual Credit Suisse clients have a high net worth. Institutional clients include banking or savings institutions, investment companies, pooled funds, pension and profit-sharing plans, charities, state or local governments, other investment advisors, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds/foreign government agencies and corporations.
The firm does not specify a specific minimum account size, but claims to be able to set one. Given that all individual clients are classified as high net worth, it is likely that a fairly high minimum would be required, probably at least $1 million.
Commissions at Credit Suisse are usually based on a percentage of assets under management. Commission schedules depend on the strategy used. For QIS, the management fee is typically between 0.50% and 1.50%.
For CIG strategies, the commission ranges from 0.20% to 0.75%, for product strategies – from 0.40% to 0.80%. See the firm’s brochure for a complete schedule for all strategies.
Commission for outdated strategies ranges from 0.39% to 1.50%. The quantitative trading strategy provides for an annual management fee of 0.75% plus recurring costs.
In order to avoid limiting its ability to generate leads, Pictet only provides private banking, wealth management, and asset management; it does not, however, provide investment banking or retail or commercial loans.
As a bank specializing in wealth management, it is one of the best wealth management banks in Switzerland.
The bank reported net new funds of CHF 1 billion in 2018.
Renaud de Planta, who has been a partner at Pictet since 1998, will succeed longtime senior partner Nicolas Pictet, who made the announcement at the same time that he would step down effective September 2019.
4. Julius Baer
Private banking organization Julius Baer was established in 1890 and operates in 20 nations. The bank, with its headquarters in Zurich, has 6,607 employees. It is one of the best wealth management banks in Switzerland.
It offers a range of structured products and services, including wealth management, wealth planning, investment advisory, Lombard financing, discretionary mandates, and Lombard financing.
The company also offers advisory services and engages in trading in precious metals, foreign exchange, and securities. Additionally, it manages a platform for open goods and services.
5. Banque cantonale de Genève (BCGE)
The Banque cantonale de Genève (BCGE) is a cantonal bank established in 1861, as the name suggests. In 1994, the bank’s current configuration was established.
Mortgages, savings accounts, personal loans, wealth and asset management services, advisory services, institutional real estate financing, global commodity finance, and public authorities financing and management are among the products and services that BGCE, which focuses on small and medium-sized businesses, offers.
The bank has 820 employees and runs through a network of 21 branches and 125 ATMs from its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Furthermore, it maintains offices in Dubai, Hong Kong, Lausanne, Zurich, Basel, Lyon, Annecy, Paris, and Dubai.
6. Bank J. Safra Sarasin
Bank J. Safra Sarasin was founded in 1841 and is a part of Brazilian Safra Group. For both private and institutional clients, the bank offers wealth management, asset management and investment advisory services. It is one of the best wealth management banks in Switzerland.
It assumed its current form in 2013, following the Safra Group’s acquisition of Bank Sarasin & Co. Ltd. and combined it with its affiliate, Bank Jacob Safra Switzerland.
It has its headquarters in Basel and currently has 2,178 employees. It is responsible for running offices in a number of places around the world, including Bern, Geneva, Lugano, Lucerne, Zurich, Doha, Dubai, Dublin, Frankfurt, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Hamburg, Hanover, Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Monaco, Munich, Nassau, Panama, Poznan, Singapore, Stuttgart, and Warsaw.
Vontobel was established in 1924 and provides investment banking, wealth management, and asset management services. 1,923 people are currently employed by the bank. It is headquartered in Zurich and has 21 locations throughout the world.
The bank serves both individual clients and businesses. It provides a wide range of services, including digital portfolio and product access, comprehensive financial planning, pension solutions, and investment strategies.
The annual maintenance fee is CHF 2,320 because this bank primarily works with institutions and people with higher incomes. In 2020, Vontobel made a profit before taxes of CHF 321 million.
8. EFG International
EFG International, a division of EFG Bank European Financial Group, was established in 1995. The bank has 40 locations worldwide and provides asset management and private banking services. It has its headquarters in Zurich and 3,750 employees as of now.
Private Banking and Wealth Management, Asset Management, and Investment and Wealth Solutions are the three main business segments of EFG International through which the bank conducts business. Hence, EFG International is one of the best wealth management banks in Switzerland.
The Private Banking and Wealth Management segment of EFG International is managed on a regional basis and is divided into Continental Europe, Switzerland, America, UK and Asia. As of 2019, the bank’s total income was $755.07 million and total assets reached $44,257 million.
For individual clients, the bank offers three main types of wealth management solutions: wealth planning, pension products, and fund services. Let’s see each of them.
The Wealth Planning team is at the heart of EFG’s private banking business. They specialize in providing advice to help clients find the right way to manage liquidity events, develop estate planning, protect and manage estates, obtain asset protection across multiple jurisdictions, highlighting the need for specialists and cross-country knowledge. as.
Working closely with clients, tax and legal advisors, they provide tailor-made solutions for asset protection and proper planning for the transfer of wealth to the next generation.
They are committed to helping clients make decisions tailored to their individual needs and are flexible enough to accommodate any changing circumstances.
EFG strives to be on the client’s side when it comes to making life’s most important financial decisions. One example is the right choice of pension solutions. EFG’s expert financial advice and premium range of pension products can make a huge difference in the future.
EFG Fund Services recognizes the individuality of each fund and their teams work closely with each client to gain a detailed understanding of the needs of their fund and investors. They always seek to understand the specific requirements of each fund before designing an administrative solution to its exact specifications.
They also offer a wide range of administration and support options for investment funds, including:
- Foundation administration.
- Transfer agent.
- payment agent.
- Communications with investors.
- Fund account.
- Net Asset Value Statement.
- Governance and Compliance.
- Guardian services.
- Custody services that comply with AIFMD requirements.
- Listing options on both the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and the Channel Islands Securities Exchange.
There is also no further information about any fees and charges, but for you to want to see the financial details, you can contact them at the phone number provided on their website.
9. Lombard Odier Private Bank
Lombard Odier Group is an independent Swiss banking group headquartered in Geneva. Its operations are divided into three divisions: private banking (wealth management), wealth management, and back office and middle office services for other financial institutions.
At the end of 2018, the bank reported outstanding balances managed by these three divisions totaling CHF 259 billion in managed assets, making it one of the largest players in the Swiss private banking sector.
Bank Lombard Odier is very active in asset management. Asset management is the main activity of the bank. The bank’s clients are individuals, companies, funds or taxpayers at a fixed rate.
Preservation and stable growth of wealth from generation to generation is the goal of the bank. The client business division deals with investment solutions. There are more than 300 experts around the world who make the right decisions for the client and allocate assets accordingly.
The historical activity of the Lombard Odier Group has been to manage the wealth of the private client base (private banking). This deal mainly covers the provision of wealth management, financial investment, tax advice and estate planning advice.
The wealth management operations in Geneva are mainly controlled by Lombard Bank, Odier & Cie SA, as one of the companies owned by the Lombard Odier Group holding company.
According to the 2016 financial year data, private banking operations amounted to 112 billion Swiss francs in outstanding assets of their Swiss and international clientele, with about 50% of the total outstanding amounts managed by the Lombard Odier Group.
According to the bank, money management is not just portfolio building. The Bank takes a holistic, global yet personalized approach to assessing customer needs, enabling them to provide individuals with long-term, customized solutions.
There is no information on the minimum investment amount and commission percentage, but the bank has a lot of excellent reviews and satisfied customers.
10. Zurich Cantonal Bank
The last bank on our list is the Zurich Cantonal Bank. Founded in 1870, the bank is the largest cantonal bank in Switzerland.
Headquartered in Zurich, it provides savings accounts, central mortgage institution loans, investment management services and professional finance advisory services to clients in Switzerland and Germany.
The Cantonal Bank of Zurich also offers international payments, letters of credit, collection services, export financing and bank guarantees.
It operates through a network of approximately 81 branches and 348 ATMs throughout the country. In 2019, the bank posted net income of US$60 billion and reported total assets of US$165.2 billion.
Under its Swisscanto Invest by Zürcher Kantonalbank brand, the asset management division of Zürcher Kantonalbank offers institutional clients quality investment and pension solutions with Swiss quality and reliability.
Individuals, companies or pension funds – they know the needs of their customers and provide them with the right products and services.
ZKB products and services are intended for institutional and professional investors. They are the leading provider of base-satellite investment solutions in Switzerland.
The bank’s clients appreciate the wide range of products and advisory services at all stages of the investment process. The modular product portfolio spans all major asset classes and includes:
- Investment fund
What do they stand for?
- Investment Competence and Innovation: Global and innovative product and service offerings allow you to access a customized investment solution to suit your needs.
- Consistent service at a fair price: They deliver consistent added value and consistent performance at a fair price.
- “100% Swiss made”: they are the largest asset manager producing exclusively in Switzerland, incl. on-site support and sales – the bank team speaks your language
- Security: As an asset manager of a strong AAA rated bank, they guarantee security
- Certified: As one of several suppliers in Switzerland, they have an ISO 9001 certified management system.
In conclusion, it is worth mentioning twice that Switzerland is one of the world’s leading banking and financial centers with 266 banks as of 2019. The banking network is highly developed and Swiss banks are among the world leaders in specialized areas such as private banking and asset management.
The total assets of the Swiss banking system at the end of 2016 amounted to 6.8 trillion US dollars (6.7 trillion Swiss francs), including assets managed by Swiss banks abroad.
If you are a citizen or resident of Switzerland, feel free to use Swiss private banks to help you normalize your finances, insuring your financially prosperous life after retirement, or simply relieve financial stress.
Wealth management has never been an invaluable thing, many people, wealthy people, come to this option in order to maintain their wealth with the help of professional and qualified private banks and their wealth managers.
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