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Confidence boost for Geneva’s independent asset managers, survey finds

Confidence boost for Geneva’s independent asset managers, survey finds

Confidence is up among Geneva’s independent asset managers, with net profits staying stable in 2017 and nearly a third of managers seeing assets under management grow by between 3% and 7%.

This is according to the Economic Survey Results 2017-2018 from the Geneva Financial Centre.

The survey found that banks with between 50 and 199 employees were the biggest winners in assets under management, with 75% recording an increase of 3-7% in the first six months of 2017. That compares with just 28.9% of independent asset managers experiencing the same level of growth.

Meanwhile, earnings before interest and taxes remained stable for most independent asset managers, with a year-on-year change in the first six months of 2017 of between -2% and 2%.

The yearly survey, which canvasses independent asset managers and banks in Geneva, gauges the overall sentiment in the financial industry. 

In total, more than half of all independent asset managers in Geneva have seen an earnings change (EBIT) of between -2% and 7% over the first half of 2017, while 18.5% admitted that earnings have fallen by between -7% and -3%.

Despite that, most of those surveyed expect earnings to increase by 3% to 7% over the course of 2017 as a whole.

Looking ahead, the majority of independents expect net profits to remain largely unchanged next year, with 44.3% saying they think the change will be between -2% and 2%.

These figures show a more positive outlook for independents, as almost half of those responding to last year’s survey reported a loss of asset over the first six months of 2016.

Some 60% of the independent advisers who took part in this year's survey deal in private asset management, while 12% operate in institutional asset management.

Overall, the report found that 78.9% of independent asset managers are Swiss-owned, while 21.1% are foreign-owned. This is unlike banks with 50 to 199 employees in Geneva, which are mostly foreign-owned (58.3%).

Changes ahead

Luxembourg was the destination of choice for most independent advisors, were they to move their activities to another financial centre. 28.4% of those surveyed favoured it, while 21.6% said they would move to London.

In terms of the automatic exchange of information, 36.4% of participants expect it to have a negative effect on their company, while 48.3% were neutral. Only 4.2% said the new rules would be positive for their firm.

Sliding status

More than half of independent asset managers believed that Geneva’s attractiveness for wealth management decreased in 2016. Alternative asset classes in Geneva also become less attractive over the course of 2016, they felt.

Meanwhile, EU-based clients are expected to have lost the most confidence in Geneva's financial firms, the respondents believed.


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