Swiss wealth managers seek to reconnect with US clients

Analysis by Aite Group has pointed to a growing desire by Switzerland based wealth managers to reconnect with US clients, following a number of years in which regulatory and fiscal developments made this difficult.

The view is put forward in Aite’s report Offshore US Private Wealth: Switzerland’s Compliant Re-Engagement.

The report suggests that a growing number of Swiss wealth managers are registering with the SEC to be able to serve US taxpayer clients.

This is based in turn on quantitative analysis of March 2013 submissions to the SEC. The data gathering has been supplemented with secondary market research and a small number of primary research interviews with Swiss RIA firms and other private client professionals.

This market has so far gathered some $14.1bn in assets, although it still represents just 0.07% of all North American high net worth household assets. But Aite says that the AUM could grow to $50bn in the medium term, and aim for $100bn in the long term.

Perhaps ironically, Aite notes that the problems that certain Swiss firms have had with US authorities around issues of tax evation means that the country has developed into “the leading compliant international offshore centre for US private wealth.”

“It must take advantage of that opportunity, as well as the internationalisation of the US investor, before others join.”

Stephen Wall, senior analyst in Wealth Management at Aite, added: “While Switzerland’s ongoing entanglement with US authorities over past tax-evasion misdemeanors has caused pain to many in the Swiss market, a core group of Swiss-based wealth managers realized and acted upon the resulting opportunity. In line with the new model of engagement, they obtained SEC-registration as investment advisors and collectively have a weight to potentially turn this hugely negative period into a long-term positive for Switzerland’s wealth management sector.”


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