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Wealth management

5 to Top 50: swisspartners about Coping with the Unpredictable

As the proud sponsor of Citywire‘s award recognizing the top 50 IAMs across Switzerland (details here), we would like to give you an insight into the daily work of the winning companies. Arleta Więch asked 5 questions to selected top 50 IAMs to learn more about their success factors as well as the future of wealth management and the role of wealthtech in the upcoming years. Here’s what she found out.

Hakan Semiz serves a number of managerial roles at swisspartners Group: an EAM with offices in Switzerland and Austria providing solutions for asset, tax and inheritance planning. Its Wealth Management and Asset Management Divisions serve clients in Switzerland, UE and USA.

What is your role at swisspartners Group? What differentiates your company from other EAMs?

Within swisspartners, I’m responsible for fund selection. I’m also a portfolio manager for discretionary and special mandates and a member of the Asset Allocation Committee.  

What differentiates us from other companies? We conceived swisspartners as a “one–stop shop” for wealth planning, wealth management and insurance solutions, and that’s what we are today. We are one of the largest players in terms of assets under management as well as number of employees (110). We have offices in Zurich, Vaduz, Geneva and Feldkirch (Austria).  

Apart from our Wealth Management business unit, which is separately and regulatory structured in European business and Switzerland/rest of world, we have an Insurance business unit called swisspartners Versicherung AG Vaduz. It offers unit-linked life insurance policies to clients in various countries. Another part of our business is the Trust/Corporate Services business unit which provides fiduciary and family office services for Swiss clients as well as inheritance and succession planning alongside domicile changes.

Furthermore, there is swisspartners Advisors Ltd., a subsidiary registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that offers wealth management services to private clients in the US. We also look after clients from the worlds of sport, entertainment and arts as well as on the all-round management of extensive family and foundation assets.

How has wealth management changed since you started working in the industry?

There is much more administrative workflow and workload, increasing regulatory constraints in terms of suitability, intensive legal/compliance education and cross-border involvement. Furthermore, the cost pressure has intensified, and there are more asset classes as well as more access to liquid alternatives.

You are one of the top 50 IAMs across Switzerland and Liechtenstein. What do you believe to be your success factors?

We benefit from the trust and confidence our clients have in us whereas they benefit from our high level of service and connections to banks and external experts worldwide. We have a broad offering of investment products as well as financial & tax services, and our product selection process is highly independent.  

We are a partner for our clients. We provide them with personal support and professional services tailored precisely to their individual requirements.

What were your major challenges in 2020? Were they rather strategic or operational?

COVID posed challenges to most sectors worldwide, and I feel very sorry for all the people in this difficult situation. The major challenge was how to meet our clients and prospects as well as do networking to grow our business. We needed to replace most of our visits and interactions with video calls.However, it was an opportunity for swisspartners to check if we can handle and organize the new workflow and whether our systems are stable regardless of where our employees work from.

What do you think about the importance of technology in asset management? Is it going to rise in 2021?

Yes, I can imagine that we will need even more hardware to handle the increasing amount of data. Also, the exchange of data from custodians (e.g. KYC data) could be handled much more efficienly in the future  

Efficient CRM systems will be useful just like order tools with embedded investment integrity and suitability checks.

At swisspartners, we reacted to the new technical conditions and our clients’ needs by launching a new independent service this year: ONE by swisspartners. Our platform consolidates assets in a comprehensive and digitised form in combination with efficient and targeted analyses of asset allocation and wealth structuring.  

5 to Top 50 is a series of interviews where we ask 5 questions to selected top 50 IAMs across Switzerland. For live updates on the rest of the interviews, follow our LinkedIn profile.

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