The latest statistics for the 2013 tax year reveal there are 8,976 millionaires in the canton Schwyz, with a total wealth of CHF77.5 billion.
This small but influencial area in the middle of Switzerland has one of the highest concentrations of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) in the country.
But big money requires good management, and Citywire Switzerland decided to find out what Schwyz-based advisers do to manage millionaires fortunes.
Pierre Gabris, partner at Alpen Partners Wealth Management, said millionaires are attracted to Schwyz for the same reasons they attracted to Switzerland: business-friendly environment, security, attractive taxation, positive entrepreneurship spirit and education.
‘Many HNWI in Schwyz are still active, either as employees of companies, entrepreneurs or shareholders. Their needs are more interesting than those of fully “retired” HNWIs.’
Gabris said active HNWIs might be interested in hedging their holdings or may need to relocate professionally. Another crucial issue, Gabris said, is succession and wealth transfer.
‘Families become increasingly more international, legal risks are increasing and therefore there is a lot of work and value to add in that field.’
Millions to millions
Stefan Hiestand, CEO of a Pfäffikon-based AgaNola said high net worth individuals are interested in cross-generational wealth preservation but at the same time they keep looking for promising opportunities.
‘For a financial services provider it is key to understand multifacetedness of clients’ needs and be able to provide appropriate and customised solutions while offering competitive fees.’
Hiestand said trust is the prerequisite of a longstanding relationship with a HNWI client, each of whom is unique in his or her personal situation and life plan.
His firm AgaNola, for instance, aims to develop customized solutions, leveraging its convertible bonds expertise and consulting clients’ investment committees.
‘We provide these committees an independent assessment, relevant investment and risk management reports, enabling them a comprehensive overview of their chosen asset managers.’
Hunt for value
Jan Dwarshuis from a Pfäffikon-based Thirteen Asset Management is also advocating customized solutions and his firm works with specific mandates based on the demands of the HNWI plus offers a wide range of family office services.
‘These tailor-made asset management mandates can be interesting for HNWIs or families as their needs and risk profile come first. We don’t do standard profiles or portfolios.’
Dwarshuis said another attractive area for investors is the firm’s focus on value investing.
‘We approach the market differently than usual and see opportunities when others advise to sell, and the media is talking doom and gloom. In fact, we will invest even more after market corrections and sell at the top of the markets.’
He added that his firm is a concentrated investor, which means that it invests in a limited number of companies, usually between 10 and 15.
‘Before we invest and analyse the business model we use a checklist of around 148 pages. Finding a good investment on the basis of value investing is thus – especially in the current era – no sinecure.’
Dwarshuis said his firm still has space to work with additional families and HNWIs.
‘It is not our ambition to be the biggest. Maintaining a long term relationship with our customers, instead, is key to our value investing philosophy.’