Text size

Planting the seeds of trust now that will bear fruit over a lifetime

Listen to article

This is a sponsored article from Credit Suisse.

The largest intergenerational transfer of wealth is taking place today among the wealthiest families globally. Between now and 2029, US$8.6 trillion of global high net-worth wealth will be transferred from one generation to another.

But that headline figure does not illustrate the challenges and complexities involved in handing down wealth from one generation to the next. It is perhaps not surprising then that 70% of UHNW families report a failure to transfer wealth across generations, according to data from the Williams Group Consultancy.

Viola Werner can easily see a number of reasons for such failure. The Credit Suisse head of the Global Next Generation and Families Department, Founder of the Young Investors Organisation and The Family Institute mentions that beside tax and governance issues the main reason why so many families fail in intergenerational wealth transfers is “a lack of communication and trust”.

A toolbox to build trust

In its more than 17 years working with the next generation of wealth globally, Credit Suisse has sought to empower the Next Generation and their families in key life roles rather than just being an investment partner. This philosophy runs through the bank’s entire approach to serving the next generation, which focuses on providing a bank-wide, holistic service that seeks to meet not just their financial objectives, but also their life goals.

“Empowering the Next Generation in their key life roles such as being family members, entrepreneurs, social change makers and /or investors means first to really understand who’s sitting in front of you,” explained Werner. “What does each NextGen need at this stage of life, how does she or he want to build a relationship, what is important and crucial when dealing with his or her responsibilities? It is important to fully understand this – and not just assume it based on “general data” available about the Next Generation.”

In the case of Credit Suisse, the Next Generation is defined as an adult child or grandchild with wealth of CHF 100 million or more, who stand to gain control of substantial wealth within the next 15 years.

To ensure the systematic and holistic transition of wealth to the next generation, Credit Suisse has a number of tools at its disposal. These include its Relationship Strengths Assessment and Dashboard, which helps to assess the strength of each next generation relationship in a family, prompting specific calls to action when necessary.

A crucial driver of Credit Suisse’s next-gen offering has been the creation of a Next Generation Global Council, which is responsible for defining and co-ordinating strategy and ensuring alignment across divisions including wealth management, people development and wealth planning services. In Asia-Pacific, the council is represented by Benjamin Cavalli, head of wealth management APAC. “Very often we talk about one service, but this one service is only working, if the rest of the ecosystem – the whole bank – is really integrating it and working with it,” explained Werner.

Grafting branches to the next-gen trunk

Other facets of Credit Suisse’s offering that are tailored towards better serving the next generation include training designed to upskill advisors specifically to serve next generation clients; and the NextGen Relationship wheel, which provides a one-stop shop for programmes, offerings and resources most relevant to this segment. More than 1,000 relationship managers have been trained in such skills over the last three years.

Equally important is Credit Suisse’s NextGen Academy, which offers training programmes aimed at helping these clients to grow in six key roles focused around growing as a family; growing as a person; branching out as an investor; branching out as an entrepreneur; branching out as a social change-maker; and building opportunities together. These programmes include collaborations with professors of institutions including INSEAD, the University of St Gallen, and Stanford University.

Our approach is to empower the Next Generation by building a holistic ecosystem including education, peer networks, internal and external partnerships for advisory with knowledgeable experts, to overall create a business shift in the bank industry” Werner explained. “This gives the Next Generation not only a seat but a voice at the table to discuss and decide on what matters to them – in their family and also in the bank. ”

The future starts now

New initiatives to support the bank’s next generation platform include the Credit Suisse Values digital campaign: a series of conversations featuring entrepreneurial individuals and families in Asia-Pacific and their quest to create a better world for the next generation.

In September, the lender launched the Credit Suisse Single Family Office (SFO) Index. Believed to be the first of its kind in the industry, the index aggregates data to allow SFOs to compare their asset allocations and performances with their peers. This is part of a broader suite of entrepreneur-oriented research and services offered by the firm.

All of these initiatives, according to Werner, come down to one simple goal: “The Next Generation represents not only an important future segment but the chance to step up to shape the bank industry, wealth management and by that also the world for the better.”


This publication was produced by and the opinions expressed herein are those of Credit Suisse AG (“Credit Suisse”) as of the date of writing and are subject to change. It has been prepared solely for (i) information purposes, and (ii) the reference of the recipient. It does not constitute a request or an offer by or on behalf of Credit Suisse to any person to buy or sell any particular investment product or to participate in any other transactions. Any reference to past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance. Although care has been taken to ensure that the information and analysis contained in this publication have been compiled or arrived at from sources believed to be reliable, Credit Suisse does not make any representation as to their accuracy, reliability and/or completeness and does not accept liability for any direct, indirect, incidental, specific or consequential loss and/or damage arising from the use of or reliance on this information. The information contained in this publication is for general purposes and is not intended (and should not be construed) as legal, investment, accounting or tax advice or opinion provided by Credit Suisse. It is recommended that you independently assess, with your professional advisors as you may deem appropriate, the specific financial risks as well as legal, accounting, tax and financial consequences. The product/service/transaction which is the subject of this publication may not be applicable or suitable for a client’s specific circumstances or needs.

Copyright © 2022 CREDIT SUISSE GROUP AG and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

This is a sponsored article from Credit Suisse.