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How Switzerland's IAMs Adapt to Gen Z's Influence

The wealth management industry, long heralded for its commitment to privacy and secrecy, is currently navigating the rise of Generation Z—a cohort that prioritizes transparency and accountability. This shift presents not just challenges, but also substantial opportunities for wealth managers and independent asset managers (IAMs) in Switzerland, propelling them towards innovative practices and expanded growth avenues.

During a recent Citywire Switzerland business strategy roundtable, representatives from Switzerland’s Top 50 IAMs discussed how Swiss wealth management is evolving under the influence of Gen Z. The concept of conducting business openly on the internet would have once been foreign to many Swiss family offices, which have historically prized discretion so highly that anonymity was a badge of honor. Yet, the advent of Gen Z compels a critical reevaluation of these traditions, steering the sector towards a more transparent and proactive approach to wealth management.

Egon Vorfeld, managing partner at The Forum Finance Group, articulates a common concern: "The biggest challenge for us in our industry is to ensure the continuity of our client relationships." This highlights the adaptive challenge Swiss wealth managers face in reconciling Gen Z's expectations with the banking sector's established norms.

Pierre Gabris, CEO of Alpen Partners, points to estate planning and financial literacy as areas where Gen Z's lack of knowledge poses challenges, yet also opportunities for wealth managers to offer guidance and build enduring relationships.

Central to navigating this generational shift is the recognition by Switzerland's Top 50 IAMs of the critical need to integrate new technologies and investment themes that resonate with Gen Z. Innovation is vital, and equally important is the cultural transformation within wealth management firms. Vorfeld stresses the importance of a diverse team, "It’s important for your team to have a good mix of young and old," highlighting the necessity for teams to mirror the generational diversity of their clientele.

Marco Boldrin, CEO of Copernicus Wealth Management, showcases this adaptation by revising the firm's conservative ethos, from dress codes to office design, aiming to attract younger clients.

The emphasis on adopting new technologies and encouraging cultural evolution within firms underscores the proactive steps Switzerland's Top 50 IAMs are taking to meet Gen Z's demands. This approach not only addresses the immediate need for transparency and engagement but also sets a foundation for enduring success in the evolving landscape of wealth management.