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Top-Tier Cars Favored by Wealth Managers
In the Swiss finance sector, particularly for private bankers and wealth managers in Zurich, a car is far more than a mere transport means. It’s a status symbol, meticulously chosen, especially when clients are out of sight. With Swiss clients, understatement rules: think unassuming German cars, preferably electric, to avoid falling behind in fee negotiations.
The Evolution of Luxury on Four Wheels
The car landscape has shifted dramatically since eliminating free parking spots and company car leases. There’s a notable decrease in mid-range priced German vehicles that used to disappear into corporate garages and backyards around Paradeplatz. This change reflects economic considerations and a cultural shift in the perception of luxury and practicality.
The Fine Line: Private Banker vs. Investment Banker
Private bankers and wealth managers can’t boost their income through frequent transactions or moderate risks like investment bankers. The widely shared study ‘Sensation Seeking,’ with its warning, “If your banker drives a Ferrari, your wealth is in jeopardy,” seems less applicable in wealth management. In this sector, a luxury car does not necessarily equate to riskier investments by your advisor, hinting at a more conservative approach to wealth management.
Porsche: The Sound of Power
Porsche sets the tone in the city. High-powered 911 models like the GT3 or GTS are favourites. Alternatively, the Taycan showcases modern environmental awareness, while the Cayenne has become passé. The smaller Macan finds great acceptance among female wealth managers, and the 911 Cabrio is also a popular choice.
Continual German Dominance
Mercedes and its AMG models, especially the GT Coupé, are a delight. For BMW, it’s all about the M models, and for Audi, at least an S or better, an RS. Maserati plays an underdog role, viewed as a refined Italian understatement for people appreciating timeless cars. Being around 400 horsepower means you’re in the game, ready to dash left and then change lanes (watch out for automated expensive selfie-takers). Large SUVs with combustion engines are criticised and frowned upon by activist groups. Eco-friendly alternatives like the EOS, iX, or e-Tron, though not consistently recognised as such, are broadly accepted in the community, suggesting calling a lovely villa home equipped with solar panels.
Tesla and Other Trendsetters
Tesla is omnipresent, yet the Model S is losing its allure. The Model X is too bulky, the Y too unassuming. The Model 3 signals ecological awareness but is not anymore posh enough to park at Dieter Meiers Atelier Bar, a renowned spot in Zurich’s financial district. A Fiat 500 Abarth or a MINI JCW are perfect for a hip image.
Winter Auto Extravaganza
A Bentley, preferably a Continental GT, never fails to impress, especially when it’s parked with a thick layer of salt on the sidewalk outside the vacant UBS building at Paradeplatz. It’s a luxury indulgence akin to the Range Rover and Mercedes G-Wagon – primary favourites for mountain retreats, not for the daily grind.
Summer Sports Car Parade
In summer, the sports cars take the stage. Ferraris, chosen with restraint, are typically the pride of client advisors focusing on Italy (similarly to starting an e-mail with “Ciao”). Aston Martins, especially the DB and DBS models, turn heads wherever they go. McLarens, though rare, always cause a stir upon their arrival. Lamborghinis, often mistaken for flashy day rentals, are seen as almost ‘too much,’ in contrast to the elusive Bugattis.
This marvel of a car in the centre of Zurich is more likely owned by a UHNWI client visiting their investment portfolio – don’t worry, it’s not a wealth manager, though exceptions prove the rule.
Efficiency Over Prestige
Despite all this grandeur, many opt for public transport – for sheer efficiency. I do it because my car isn’t suited for frequent lane changes, a hobby of car drivers in Zurich. Riding the tram is my luxury as I’m chauffeured along the metal rails. Meanwhile, in the tram, passing these luxury cars stuck in traffic, it feels like I’m in an express lane, effortlessly gliding past. Breaking away from the day-to-day wealth management world is also a stark reminder of life’s diverse paces, grounding me in the reality of different lifestyles.
The bottom line
The world of private bankers and wealth managers near Paradeplatz, often caricatured for their love of expensive cars, deserves a more nuanced view. These cars symbolise more than just material wealth; they reflect a lifestyle of commitment, success, and a passion for excellence – essential for thriving in this challenging job. Hence, we shouldn’t hastily judge their love for extraordinary cars but recognise it as an element of personality and pursuit of quality in their demanding profession. Their enthusiasm for vehicles, whether technical admiration or lifestyle expression, deserves respect and appreciation. I adore the ‘backfire’ sound of sports cars and the rumble of AMGs, and I am captivated by the stealth approach of an electric vehicle, all contributing to the diverse tapestry that is Zurich’s financial district. I love being in Zurich.
Swiss Independent Wealth Management Blog
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In the Swiss finance sector, particularly for private bankers and wealth managers in Zurich, a car is far more than a mere transport means. It's a status symbol, meticulously chosen, especially when clients are out of sight. With Swiss clients, understatement rules
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