If hedge funds are the future of wealth management, Switzerland could be in a lot of trouble.
That’s the warning issued yesterday by some of the country’s private banks, who fear that their country is in danger of losing its place as a world financial center, especially as a haven for the very wealthy. The group issued several suggestions to ensure that the term “Swiss bank” won’t be an anachronism by 2015.
“The masterplan… is a precondition for survival for us as private bankers,” Jacques Rossier, of the Geneva private bank Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch & Cie, said.
Among the bankers’ recommendations are tax incentives for hedge fund managers and simplified registration procedures. It also urged the Swiss Federal Banking Commission to study up on alternative investments, hiring experts in the sector.
Switzerland’s private banks are the largest repositories of foreign wealth in the world, with some US$460 billion under management. But hedge funds manage about US$2 trillion worldwide, with almost all based in the United States, Britain and Asia.