Just as Julius Baer has prospered through several crises in its 131 years, so the pandemic era is ushering in challenges. Intermediaries have clear advantages as they face them, but still need clear strategies. Julius Baer is taking steps to help intermediaries fashion their own future legacy.
When Raymond Baer, Honorary Chairman of Julius Baer, spoke in front of a number of multi-family offices recently, he told the story of how the Bank has survived and prospered for 131 years. Through four generations of the Baer family, it has adapted to a series of crises – not least the pandemic of 2020-2021.
The pandemic is challenging our businesses and our clients in particular in three specific ways. I believe how we manage them will influence all of our own future heritages.
The pandemic’s three challenges
- Firstly, after the past 18 months, there is a massive divergence in society between those that have and those that do not. In particular, the strong performance of asset prices has widened the gap. At the same time, central banks and policymakers have been spending a lot of money to support economies, which has led to huge piles of debt. At some point in time, someone will have to pay for this. Why does this affect us? Because these pressures make wealth preservation and how to hand over wealth more topical than ever.
- Secondly, the pandemic has accelerated the geopolitical shift to a bipolar world. The US and China are facing off against each other. The question is: how should we position ourselves? How should we invest? So, good advice about how to position your clients is absolutely key in the mid- to long-term.
- Thirdly, the topic of ESG and impact investing is attracting a lot of interest. Most importantly, our younger generation is asking questions so it is essential to understand what is going on, where and how to position your firm, and how you can contribute to a more sustainable world.
Enduring qualities for success
Yet as we prepare to face these challenges, I believe there are several underlying qualities that are absolutely essential. These are that we need to sustain and augment our trusted relationship, have strong personal ties with our clients and foster the valuable relationships we have among ourselves. Indeed, intricate family relationships form an integral part of Julius Baer’s heritage.
With these vital qualities in mind, I believe that external asset managers, intermediaries and multi-family offices are in a sweet spot: what differentiates them more than anything is highly personal, trusting relationships with clients.
Even so, you must have a clear strategy in this challenging world and be able to execute it well. If you choose to stand still, you may have a difficult time adapting to the changing world.
How can Julius Baer help?
What can we offer in order to help you drive forward and be at the forefront of change?
Following the pandemic, we have been looking at what we do and how we can introduce more value-added services to empower your success and the success of your clients. We have been investing for quite a while and accelerated some of those investments in the past year.
You must have a clear strategy in this challenging world and be able to execute it well.
First and foremost we are investing in our people. The world is becoming more complex than ever and dealing with it – having the right access and knowledge – is crucial. Secondly, we are improving how we deliver advice. While personal relationships will always be at the centre of what we do, we are using technology to finesse our delivery. Finally, we are expanding our service offering, including wealth planning.
At our conference, Raymond Baer described the brave decisions the Bank has taken time and again to fuel its growth, even in times of crisis. We are preparing to help intermediaries to take similar decisions to protect future heritage – both their own and that of their clients.
To this end, we will soon be releasing our first whitepaper, The intermediary’s advantage in the next digital era, which looks at the opportunities that lie ahead for intermediaries and highlights why advisors who are willing and able to adapt will have a competitive edge in tomorrow’s post-pandemic new normal.
If you would like to discuss any of the points in this article – including how we can help through our Business Navigator consulting approach – then please contact me or your relationship manager.