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Great wealth handover calls for expert solutions

With the great wealth handover between generations underway at a time when taxes look likely to rise, trusted advisors with holistic solutions are needed more than ever. Julius Baer is making its network of experts available to intermediary partners seeking specialist knowledge.

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The great wealth handover from baby boomers to the next generation has already begun. That’s certainly true in the United States and seems to be happening across much of the rest of the world as well.

A recent survey from US research firm Spectrem discovered that two thirds (66%) of US households with a net worth of more than USD 25 million in 2020 attributed their wealth to inheritance.[1] That’s up from just a fifth (22%) in 2007.

But the survey also discovered that America’s wealthy families are concerned about proposed estate and personal income tax rises. Just like their peers elsewhere in the world, they are looking to their advisors – including multi-family offices and other types of intermediaries – for expert guidance.

From the Americas, to Asia, Europe and the Middle East, we see ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) families in similar situations. Approaching middle age, they are thinking about succession and looking for guidance at a time when stretched government finances look likely to herald higher taxes.

Finding a clear vision

Many UHNW families do not have a clear view of how they wish to proceed. For this reason it’s unsurprising that family governance has become a hot topic of conversation – it was the main topic for more than a quarter (28%) of UHNW families in 2020, according to the Julius Baer Family Barometer 2020. Family governance is often the starting point for a discussion about succession planning.


[1] Boomer wealth is cascading down as Biden weighs inheritance tax. Bloomberg. 28 April 2021.

Recognising that many intermediaries specialise in investment management but may not have the expertise to tackle these broader family issues, we are making our in-house services available to them. What’s more, we are opening up our network of external experts, whom we have selected through careful due diligence.

When it comes to forming a clear vision, we believe that the family roadmap service is the first step in succession planning. It establishes the family wealth situation, as well as constructing a roadmap for protecting and growing family wealth across the generations. After that comes family governance, which aims to create a family constitution, as well as communication and education platforms. However, this is not essential for planning succession.

When it comes to wealth and succession planning, we make available whatever internal or external experts are needed. This usually involves professionals in trust and estate planning but can extend to more unusual specialists – in one recent instance an individual requested a life coach to help him decide how to plan his family’s inheritance.

Holistic solutions

While many families focus on their finances, others have broader requirements. They might want to take part in family networks – meeting thought leaders and peers at events. Additionally, many families are becoming more interested in philanthropy and responsible investing.

We are happy to make our internal and external experts covering these topics available to all intermediaries. At the same time, we offer intermediaries and their clients the full range of wealth management and financing services.

With what’s often described as the greatest wealth handover of all time under way, this is a time when UHNW families need wise counsel more than ever. They will increasingly look to trusted advisors for holistic solutions backed by specialist expertise.

Key takeaways

  • The great wealth handover is underway, according to survey data from the US showing that UHNW inheritance is growing.
  • That means clients need trusted advisors more than ever before.
  • Julius Baer is opening its network of internal and external wealth planning experts to intermediaries seeking specialists.

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