As the sixth smallest country in the world, it may come as a surprise that Liechtenstein is home to a CHF 181 billion (£146 billion) asset management company with a global presence.
LGT Group is of course only one part of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein’s assets, which sits under the Liechtenstein Foundation alongside wineries, a huge art collection and Austrian palaces. However, it is this company, considered to be the largest family-owned private wealth and asset manager in Europe, which has extended its arms into the UK, carving a place for itself in the City.
So what is the richest royal dynasty in Europe, with an estimated wealth of $3.5 billion (£2.7 billion), doing in the UK?
The royal family attracted attention last year after acquiring a majority stake in Vestra Wealth in June 2016 (see p4 for new details on the transaction). Since the acquisition, the business has grown its assets under management by 55% to £8.7 billion.
David Scott, chairman at LGT Vestra, said: ‘We are fortunate to have been able to continue our growth within the ownership structure of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein, something that is becoming increasingly rare among the larger players in the UK.
‘The entrepreneurial family business model will continue to give us a competitive position in the market, allowing us to maintain our entrepreneurial approach in our quest to be the UK’s leading wealth manager by continuing to provide high quality impartial advice, free from conflicts of interest.’
The Vestra acquisition gave the family business a lucrative foothold in UK private client wealth management, but its interests here do not just end with this one transaction. LGT also has a 10-year-old institutional business in the UK, LGT Capital Partners.
This company, with $55 billion in AUM, has also recently made an acquisition, buying specialist private debt house European Capital Fund Management, which added 28 investment professionals to its team.
Through the two sons of reigning prince of Liechtenstein Hans Adams II, the family has been split down two lines – politics and business.
The LGT Group is managed by chief executive officer Prince Max, second son of Hans Adam. While Prince Max has taken on the family business, the first son, Prince Alois, as the hereditary prince, will succeed Hans Adam as head of state. The Liechtenstein Foundation is chaired by Hans Adam’s brother Prince Philipp.
The family tree is quite convoluted and trying to figure out who is related to whom among the many princes and princesses is a daunting task. But it is interesting to see that members of the extended family also own businesses in the UK.
For example, Prince Philipp’s son, Prince Wenzeslaus, joined Dalton Strategic Partnership, a boutique that manages $1.84 billion, as its CEO in 2016.
Elsewhere, Prince Michael, second cousin of Hans Adam II, is a well-known entrepreneur and businessman. He is the founder and chairman of the Board of the Industrie und Finanzkontor, founder and chairman of Geopolitical Intelligence Services, and president and co-founder of liberal think tank ECAEF.
Perhaps less known is his ownership of UK-based investment consultancy Stamford Associates. whose clients include St James’s Place. According to its latest accounts, Prince Michael is the ultimate controlling party.
With LGT due to acquire all of Vestra over the next few years, and CFO Olivier de Perregaux indicating that the firm is still open for takeovers, will the family look to snap up more wealth managers in the UK?
LIECHTENSTEIN: DID YOU KNOW?
- In 2007, Swiss troops accidentally ‘invaded’ the country after getting lost in a storm. They apologised soon after.
- Snoop Dogg once tried to rent the country for a music video, but was refused because he did not give them enough notice.
- In its last military engagement in 1866, Liechtenstein sent 80 soldiers and 81 returned, including a new Italian ‘friend’.
- Crime is so low that their last murder was 10 years ago.