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Meet a few of our experts.
Leo is our investment consultant with many years' experience in the financial market. He provides advice on different investment products and helps clients to make informed investment decisions
Q. What is investment consulting?
A. Basically it involves advising the client on how to construct a suitable investment portfolio from various investment products that are aligned with the clients’ investment goals. It is also important that the suggested investment strategy and portfolio match the client’s investment horizon and risk tolerance.
Q. What do you do?
A. The bulk of my duties involve meeting and presenting our investment proposal to clients. Usually, this is done at a stage when the relationship manager has already set up the account for the new client and clearly has defined the client’s investment goals and risk ability. Then we suggest an investment strategy and choose a suitable asset allocation between cash, bonds, equities and alternative investments, which is communicated and frequently revised by our Investment Committee (IC) in Zurich. After the client has made his first investment I monitor his portfolio performance together with the relationship manager and keep close track of developments on financial markets. Any important changes to the IC investment view are communicated to clients and I need to keep a close track of new or existing investment products which we choose to highlight as appropriate investments.
Q. What are the biggest challenges clients face?
A. Right now, considering the political and economic situation in Russia, I would say figuring out what to do with their existing business or excess liquidity generated from the divestment of their previous business(es). Many see the political situation as unclear and are nervous about their holdings that they have held with state banks following the Western sanctions. A more stringent recent attitude towards offshore structures from Russian authorities is another topic that clients need to consider as well, which may have implications for what asset booking center (Moscow or Switzerland) the client should choose. Regarding the investment challenges I would say dealing with declining Russian asset values and a plummeting currency. Unfortunately some of our clients' portfolios still contain a substantial "Home asset bias", which has hurt performance this year.
Q. Are there any common themes to your advice?
A Clients need to stick with a few simple rules:
(i) diversify your portfolio throughout regions and asset classes;
(ii) make sure your portfolio is suitable to your investment horizon;
(iii) do not let the fact that you have made a loss on an investment preclude you from selling it – it is the expected future return vs. similar investments that matters!
(iv) do not assume an investment strategy will still create decent returns just because it worked in the past;
(v) do not trade in and out of investments too frequently – ideally you should not make changes to more than 20% of your total portfolio on an annual basis. It’s important to have patience and ignore factors like perfect market timing.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. I enjoy researching investments and building portfolios. While working in Russia, I am still always updated on market developments across all regions and all asset classes. Thereby I feel that I always have something interesting to present to our clients. I firmly believe that well balanced and sound advice can substantially help our clients secure and grow their future wealth.
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