Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Why would a Swiss wealth manager register with the SEC in the US

Switzerland is renowned as the private wealth management capital of  the world with approximately 26% of the world’s private wealth held in Switzerland and managed by Swiss-based banks, wealth managers and
investment advisers. In times of heightened volatility and turbulence, Switzerland continues to attract the wealth of prudent investors around the world, seeking the highest possible level of safety for their assets beyond their own borders.

Now why would a Swiss wealth manager register with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States? A Swiss wealth manager can serve up to 14 American clients domiciled in the US with an aggregate  amount of assets under management not exceeding USD 25 million without having to register with the US authorities. So why do over 40 Swiss wealth managers take the bother to register with the SEC and fulfill the demanding regulations to be compliant? Beyond the actual SEC  registration, the Swiss SEC RIA is required to provide an annually updated “ADV Part 2,” a brochure that describes their business in detail in a narrative format, e.g. business practices, fees, conflicts of  interest, and disciplinary information. (The ADV Part 2 needs to be given to each potential client before a relationship begins and it is worthwhile to read it cover-to-cover.)

That’s why!

With an SEC registration, a Swiss wealth manager can communicate freely with American clients in the US. Phone calls, emails and correspondence of any kind are possible, providing Americans with easy access to Swiss wealth management services. A Swiss wealth manager is able to visit American clients in the US to discuss investment strategies and the development of their portfolios. And a Swiss wealth manager is able to actively promote wealth management services to Americans, individually, at conferences or on road shows, for example. Swiss wealth managers dedicated to working with American clients believe in the potential of the US market and an American investor’s growing need for international and jurisidictional diversification.

Swiss custodian banks

More and more Swiss banks are ready to accept American clients (see a list of the custodian banks here) – in collaboration with a Swiss SEC-registered investment adviser  (Swiss SEC RIA) despite a higher level of regulation. Based on a white money strategy and with FATCA in place, Swiss banks can act as a  custodian bank for American clients that work together with a Swiss SEC RIA. The set-up is compliant with SEC regulations and with the IRS…there will be no surprises along the way. A Swiss SEC RIA will assist you in the account opening process which you can do from the comfort of your home, you do not need to travel to Switzerland to do so (even if it is highly recommended that you visit Switzerland to see everything first hand).

A different perspective than your local adviser

With an international upbringing, education and professional wealth management experience, a Swiss wealth manager will have a different perspective than your local adviser. Swiss wealth managers are happy to  collaborate with your present local adviser to create an additional international portfolio that meets your needs and plans for the future.

An investment portfolio to complement the one you have at home

Your new international portfolio should complement the one you have at home. There is no need to duplicate investments. American investment portfolios are often one-sided with only American companies, American
financial institutions and the US dollar. Adding the component of international, jurisdictional diversification to your overall wealth planning is a prudent step to take…there’s no need to keep all of your eggs in the same basket.

Easy access

To get started, you need easy access to the Swiss SEC RIAs that are happy to work together with you and your local adviser. How do you choose the one that suits you best? Do you prefer a larger bank-associated wealth manager or a more personal independent investment adviser? Would you like one from the Geneva area, or do you prefer one from Zurich or even from Lugano? In any case, you will want to do your homework and check them out before you get in contact and establish a relationship.

You can easily do so using the new Swiss platform WHERE AMERICANS ARE WELCOME (WAAW) at  americanswelcome.ch  which lists the over 40 Swiss SEC RIAs that welcome American private clients. They are listed individually, alphabetically and regionally. Some of the more entrepreneurial Swiss SEC RIAs provide direct access to their ADV Part 2 and other information, e.g. events they are participating in, in the US and publications they issue.

TheWAAW Cheat Sheet

will show you how easy it is to establish your Swiss bank account with
Swiss wealth management expertise. Any questions on how to get started?
The Q&A section will answer them!

Other wealth management-related services such as estate planning lawyers, Swiss trustees and US tax advisers can be found on WAAW too. Considering a second passport and a foreign residence? You can find out more on WAAW.

There is no sign-up procedure to access WAAW, no need to complete forms to make inquiries, you simply click right through to the experts of your choice. There is not an easier way to find out more and get started in Switzerland!

Anne Liebgott, CEO

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