Family Office

EXCLUSIVE: A Walk Around Germany's Single-Family Offices Sector – Part 2

Tom Burroughes Group Editor London 25 October 2023

EXCLUSIVE: A Walk Around Germany's Single-Family Offices Sector – Part 2

In part one of this two-part feature, this publication talked to German banks about their work with the country's single-family offices. Now it is the turn of Swiss banks to discuss how they approach the German sector.

In the first half of this two-part series this publication set out the broad issues for German single-family offices and spoke to three German banks about the work they do with SFOs. In this article, we talk to Swiss banks and one large US bank - Citigroup - about their work in this industry. 

At UBS, the world’s largest international wealth manager, the firm makes a point of its wide coverage of the global sector, often issuing reports drilling into areas such as asset allocation and operational matters. This coverage includes Germany – a natural fit for a Zurich-listed bank.
WealthBriefing spoke to Carl von Wrede, head of global family and institutional wealth, Europe Domestic business. He’s been at UBS for a decade and before that, worked for 14 years at Morgan Stanley in Zurich, New York, London, and Munich holding several different management positions. The bank’s German family offices business has been a dedicated operation since 2013.

“UBS is established as a major player in the family office market in Germany and holds a significant share of the overall market. In the future, we will continue to expand our leading position in the German business and strengthen our growth in the long term. We have laid the foundation for this in recent years,” he said.  

“We have an excellent network in the German-speaking market and are in contact with many family offices in Germany,” von Wrede said. 

“In early 2022, as part of our ambitious growth strategy, UBS brought together its global family office capabilities, unified global markets, global lending unit, prime brokerage, and private markets one bank partnership, under one roof with a fully aligned front-to-back setup to create Global Family and Institutional Wealth (GFIW),” von Wrede continued. The GFIW business is led globally by George Athanasopoulos. “This allows us to further support entrepreneurs, family offices, and other private investors with sophisticated, institutional-like needs by providing more seamless access to the intersection of UBS’s investment banking and wealth management capabilities,” he said.

“We’ve laid strong foundations over the past 18 months and are well-positioned for a multi-year journey to provide an institutional ecosystem that delivers return and impact for clients,” von Wrede said.

Asked about themes, von Wrede said he noticed that while family offices differ, one common point is that they are concentrating again on “active strategies.” He gave the case of the recent UBS Global Family Office report showing that 35 per cent of them prefer the selection of managers and active management as a means of portfolio diversification. 

“The findings from the report underscore that family offices around the world are planning some of the biggest portfolio shifts in years, driven by concerns about geopolitics and inflation,” he said. 

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