Wealthy and influential Swiss women view their money as a tool for facilitating broader goals like education, freedom to choose their careers and doing good in society, rather than wealth being an end goal in itself. That’s according to a new report, Leading Ladies of Switzerland – Insight into the lives and careers of female wealth holders, released today by Campden Wealth Research in partnership with Julius Baer.
“An increasing amount of wealth is in women’s hands,” said Gian Rossi, Head Switzerland and Member of the Executive Board at Julius Baer. “With this in mind, Julius Baer has commissioned this joint study with Campden Wealth to learn from the experiences of influential and wealthy women in Switzerland.”
A glimpse into the lives of 10 wealthy women
Based on in-depth interviews with 10 high net worth women in Switzerland, the qualitative research offers a glimpse into the women’s childhoods, careers, philanthropic endeavours and their approach to educating the next generation. Interviewees include Katia Tissot of the Tissot watchmaking family; telecommunications entrepreneur Anat Bar-Gera; Atalanti Moquette and her daughter Elianna Sabba, from a fifth generation Greek shipping business; and Sarah Naef from the family-owned construction company Naef Group.
Most came from families that have, or have had, a successful family business. Despite this, many commented they were given little grounding in regards to wealth management growing up. Coupled with busy careers and family lives, the women said this meant they relied on the support and expertise of advisers. One entrepreneur said she and her husband were more interested in creating new businesses than managing their wealth. She noted, “We discipline ourselves to use money managers”.
Wealth is not seen as an end goal
One thing that the women had in common was their dedication to making a positive difference in the world through entrepreneurial and philanthropic means. These pursuits were found to be, in part, a consequence of the women’s shared vision that wealth was not an end goal in itself, but rather a mechanism to facilitate broader pursuits in life. All interviewees were engaged in philanthropy in some way, contributing time, giving money, or to a lesser extent, engaging in impact investing. “I feel deeply about giving back on a personal level,” one woman commented.
A number of the women also recognised the importance of preparing the next generation to manage the family wealth once the torch is handed over. One said such discussions had not been met with interest from her children, but she was persevering by gently introducing the topic.
However not all of the women have formal succession plans in place yet, making this an area which needs ongoing attention. To better support women, it was noted in the report that advisers may consider employing more female staff who can relate to them and better understand their needs. Supplying wealth management training to the next generation was also deemed valuable, as well as offering flexible services that cater to their specific requirements.
Campden Wealth’s Director of Research, Dr. Rebecca Gooch, said that she was grateful for the extent the women opened up about their lives. “These women have achieved tremendous things both in their for-profit and philanthropic endeavours,” Dr Gooch said. “As a result, this report is filled with advice for women, as well as the executives and advisers that support women of wealth.”
About the research:
Ten in-depth qualitative interviews with female wealth holders in Switzerland were conducted. This group included a mix of women born in Switzerland, and those who re-located there at some stage. Participants’ net worth ranged from CHF 20 million to more than CHF 100 million. Some were wealth creators, inheritors, married into wealth or a blend of the three. They were also diverse in age, with two millennials, so as to gain a perspective from the next generation.
It should be noted that given the qualitative nature of the research and small sample size, the findings cannot be generalised across the wealth community in Switzerland. Rather, they are to be interpreted as portraits of individual women, with their own unique views and experiences.