London-based private banker Meidal joined Pictet in September 2016 from Lombard Odier. He started out as an investment banker at Deutschebank but was drawn to wealth management because of ‘the longer term nature of the private client relationship. Getting to know the families and having the opportunity to speak directly to the decision makers is both challenging and very interesting,’ he says.
A good wealth manager needs to be curious, he needs to listen and be close to the clients. There is no solution that would fit two families the same way,’ he says, and especially now people are increasingly mobile and the world increasingly small. The most important lesson learnt from the financial crisis, which impacts the way the industry operates today, is the focus on making sure clients have a well-diversified portfolio and don’t take undue risks. ‘It’s very important to the families understand their long term goals. It’s been a big industry shift,’ he says.
Now fully settled in his new firm, Meidal is enjoying every moment. . ‘I thoroughly enjoy the people, the strategic vision, the focus on wealthy families and complex situations,’ he effuses. ‘I’m working with different people, in different teams in a very coherent fashion. It’s the perfect combination of a client centric culture and a good internal structure. I’m trying to take as much advantage of it as possible.’
His clients include private individuals, family offices and semi institutional family foundations, and a large proportion is based in the Nordic countries (Meidal in Swedish). The new generation of UHNWs are better informed, more interested and so much more hands on than their predecessors, he notes. And in the Nordic countries specifically, and especially among the young, there is ‘a focus on sustainable, socially responsible-type investment,’ he says.
‘Exclusion of types of investments from their portfolios is the starting point, and there is a focus on the environment, the carbon footprint and other long term thematic aspects too,’ he explains. ‘They may look at investing in something that’s impact related, or even philanthropic.’ In line with trend, more and more wealth managers are choosing to focus these types of investment and Meidal expects this to continue.
The summer months were busy, says Meidal. ‘On my side, I’ve been speaking to clients a lot more this summer than on average. There seems to be a greater need for contact among clients because of recent geopolitical events.’ Meidal notes, however, that despite Trump and Brexit, the markets have maintained ‘surprisingly low volatility’.