Frédéric, as Head of EAM International & Switzerland, please give us an overview of the EAM service at UBP.
Frédéric Toselli: The team now has about fifty people and is spread between a dozen of UBP’s sites in the world. Of course, we rely on all of the UBP Group, a bank that has CHF 140.6 billion in AuM (as at 30 June 2023) and is recognised for its financial solidity. UBP has a Tier 1 ratio of 27.3% and a short-term liquidity ratio of 262%, both of which make it one of the sector’s best-capitalised banks. It also has a Moody’s rating of Aa2, which was recently renewed.
What is your strategy on the segment?
Frédéric Toselli: Our priority is the quality of the services we provide to EAMs and clients, and we have put a lot of effort and expense into ensuring it is the highest it can be.
In the last twelve months we have hired several senior professionals with solid experience of serving EAMs. In this drive to keep improving our services, we have singled out key partners with which to further strengthen relations, and we offer them all the services that our own relationship managers are entitled to. We firmly believe that taking an integrated, dedicated and customised approach covering a wide range of clients’ needs is the way to maintain our competitive position. On the technology front, we make sure we have the latest leading EAM interfaces: we already have the FIX protocol in place and we have started several projects with IT to optimise our infrastructure to suit our younger clients.
Switzerland’s EAM business is going through a major transition. How do you see it evolving?
Patrizia Colombini: We feel that the very big changes in terms of new rules and tighter control over the profession offer EAMs the opportunity to carry on developing successfully.
The requirement for a FINMA licence to operate also brings benefits, for example by certifying holders’ reputations, quality of service and expertise, which in turn helps them attract talent while also enabling them cut costs with economies of scale achieved by consolidating operations.
To stand out, both EAMs and their custodian banks have to be very skilled at understanding and anticipating their clients’ ever more complex needs. To show credibility they need strong know-how. This also applies to relationship managers within banks’ EAM desks. The demands – both internal and external – call for excellent risk management, communication, compliance and investment knowledge and skills, among others.
Pierre-Emile Schifferli: Today most EAMs have been able to adapt, and they started even before the new regulations became effective. They have also understood how to take advantage of the ecosystem through partnerships so that they can bring their clients more added value. As for the future, we don’t believe in a ‘universal’, generic EAM service.
Patrizia, you are the Head of EAM Zurich, what is your main message to the EAMs you serve?
Patrizia Colombini: I will continue to support EAMs in their expansion as I have done for over twenty years. I believe that their activity complements rather than competes with a private bank’s business.
When it comes to providing for EAMs, there’s no one-size-fits-all. Our approach is bespoke; we come up with solutions that target the specific, and constantly evolving, goals and needs of each of our partners.
Our added value is mainly in the broad geographical coverage of our Compliance department, our wide range of investment offerings and the seniority of our teams.
Just like EAMs we focus on those markets on which we have specific and solid expertise. We are lucky enough at UBP to have access to dedicated specialists, including in Zurich, and this closeness adds value too.
The client is more than ever our foremost concern and we are proud to channel our efforts towards helping our EAM partners grow, with conviction and passion!
And you, Pierre-Emile, Head of EAM Geneva, what makes UBP’s EAM desk stand out?
Pierre-Emile Schifferli: I would say it’s above all our sense of entrepreneurship, which comes from UBP being a family-owned business. It’s in our DNA and helps us understand and quickly respond to our international clients’ ever increasing expectations.
Being client-focused we have a varied range of skills within the EAM desk, for example when it comes to risk management. We recently welcomed a number of new hires and they support relationship managers through the key process of onboarding. This has made the operation faster and more efficient, which improves the client’s experience.
We also have a knowledgeable Senior Investment Advisor who gives our EAM partners the benefit of all of UBP’s investment expertise.
I want to add that, with its strong balance sheet, UBP is active and competitive in credit, and has a diversified offering that includes Lombard loans and more structured financing, especially in the mortgage segment. This adds a string to our bow when it comes to serving clients seeking new wealth planning avenues.