Can You Trust a Wealth Manager Thousands of Miles Away?
"Katzensprung" ("A cat's jump") = "A stone's throw"
Trust is a key factor when establishing a relationship with a wealth manager or an investment advisor. Does distance make a difference?
Do investors feel more comfortable with a local advisor with offices downtown...even if they ever, or rarely, drop by the offices for a chat or grab lunch together? Does picking up the phone or writing an email feel better with the knowledge that the wealth manager or investment advisor is active in the same time zone?
Home-bias is understandable but...
Home-bias is understandable, it is what investors know in-and-out. It is a level of comfortableness that, to a certain degree, "dulls the senses" preventing action-taking on opportunities just beyond the "comfort zone". There is no tangible reason to feel uncomfortable with international and jurisdictional investment diversification and engaging a wealth manager in Switzerland.
Taking the first step towards Switzerland
Naturally, a personal introduction, a recommendation from a trusted US advisor, a colleague or a family member already established in Switzerland helps to break the ice. However, North American investors can take their own initiative too and get established.
Swiss wealth managers focused on providing wealth management services, specifically, discretionary and advisory investment management mandates to US and Canadian clients, are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States or are licensed in Canada (or otherwise adhere to the regulations). To get started, US investors can do their homework and read the wealth managers’ SEC ADV Part 1 containing information about their businesses and if there have been problems with regulators or clients. Section D includes information on the foreign financial authorities the Swiss wealth managers are registered with. The ADV Part 2 Brochure describes, in a narrative format, their business practices, fees, types of clients and more. ADV Part 3 Brochure, also known as Form CRS, is a Client Relationship Summary. Its main purpose is to provide retail investors with “simple, easy-to-understand information about the nature of their relationship with their financial professional”.
Note: Before you hire an investment adviser, from the US or in Switzerland, always ask for, and carefully read, all parts of the Form ADV.
A natural next step is to take a look at the Swiss wealth manager's website to get a touch and feel for their approach to North American clients. Trust often begins with a positive first impression. A short-list of personally appealing Swiss wealth managers can be made, and contact established. Many Swiss wealth managers have travel to the US and Canada regularly and enjoy meeting with their North American business partners and clients personally to discuss needs, opportunities and future developments. Some of them even have offices in the United States to provide a "close to home" feeling.
Some North American investors are excited to make a trip to Switzerland to visit their chosen wealth manager and their offices to get a first-hand feeling of Switzerland as a second home for a portion of their overall assets, as well as seeing the sights and enjoying the fine dining Switzerland has to offer. A lunch in Zurich, Geneva, or Lugano with a dedicated, English-speaking, Swiss relationship manager is a nice change to a local downtown restaurant.
For both sides, the next best thing to being there is a personal conversation using today's modern communication technologies...Zoom, Teams...there are many options making Switzerland closer than ever.
There are also US and Canada-based advisors with an international flair and an appreciation of Switzerland, helping their clientele to diversify a portion of their assets abroad. Together with a Swiss wealth manager, an internationally-diversified investment portfolio can be established, complementing the home-biased portfolio back home.
Not more than a phone call or click away
A Swiss wealth manager is not more than a phone call or a click away. A video chat makes 5,000 miles disappear; it feels like right next door. An initial conversation will shed more light on how your specific needs can be fulfilled and will strengthen the feeling of trust, despite the distance. More in-depth discussions will fortify the bond. Trust is not a given but needs to be earned and maintained.
By the way, opening up a custodian account with a Swiss bank is much the same as opening up an account in the US or Canada...with the Swiss wealth manager to guide the way and simplify and monitor the process.
There are Swiss wealth managers in all shapes and sizes serving North American clients beginning with minimums of USD 100,000, USD 250,000, USD 500,000 or more.
5,000 miles does make a difference!
A Swiss wealth manager, with an ingrained international upbringing and years of education, training and experience will bring different perspectives to the table. Being at least six hours in action before the North American markets open gives them a head start. Multi-currency, internationally-diversified investment portfolios are the bread-and-butter of what they do every day, yet their efforts are specifically geared to the North American investor. Naturally, an investment portfolio in Switzerland should complement an investment portfolio already in place back home and not compete with it. However, a globally-diversified portfolio can also include US and Canadian investments to round off the international holdings. A Swiss account also gives globally mobile investors access to funds outside of the US and Canada.
Switzerland has an element of safety, underlined by long-term political and economic stability and neutrality, the acknowledged AAA-rated, "safe haven" quality is unmet by other countries. Switzerland is renowned for its resilience in times of crisis reflecting its comprehensive economic strength.
Swiss wealth managers and client relationship managers are also appreciated for their very personal service, discretion, reliability, preciseness, and availability, ready for a phone call outside of Swiss office hours to accommodate the North American investors' local time zone. A professional relationship with an independent Swiss wealth manager often evolves into something more personal and long-term...the North American client is not viewed as simply another account.
It's easy to get started
The Swiss platform AW✚SWITZERLAND makes it easy to get started by introducing Swiss wealth management services available to North American clients. Swiss wealth managers of all shapes and sizes, precious metals investing, real estate, tax professionals, trustees, lawyers and even citizenship and resident planning are present on AWS. The platform does not have any sign-up or registration requirements and is open 24/7 to all.
There is strength in knowledge
With knowledge comes strength and trust can be established and evolve in the long term.
The 5,000 miles away are just a "Katzensprung" ("a cat's jump" = "a stone's throw").
With Anne’s more than 20 years’ experience, she is well qualified to provide insight on the changed environment for American clients regarding Swiss Wealth Management and the benefits of Switzerland as a second home. She will be delighted to give a 30-minute free Q&A interview to deal with any specific question you may have.
Send an email to [email protected] to book an appointment.