Who is the banking clientele ?
This refers to individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises located in the canton of Geneva who have day-to-day needs to be serviced such as salary accounts, payments, normal business transactions, etc. This clientele deals mainly with the big commercial banks but also frequents institutions such as the Banque Cantonale de Genève, the Migros Bank and the Bank Coop, whereas the Raiffeisen Bank is more established in smaller communities.
These are individuals with savings of several thousand or tens of thousands of francs and who seek an alternative to traditional savings plans (savings accounts or bank-issued medium-term notes). At this level, customers usually place assets in bonds or investment funds and with the same type of bank as the “retail” clientele.
Individuals with higher net asset values at disposal. It is generally at this level of capital that banks specializing in asset management show interest, whether they be large or small, Swiss or foreign. Many financial establishments fix this amount as the lower limit with which they can efficiently manage the funds entrusted to them and judiciously spread the risks.
These are pension funds from public corporations or Swiss and foreign companies. In this field, competition is heavy and margins are low as the clientele is very sensitive to management performance.
The wealth management clientele, like the institutional clientele, comes from both Switzerland and abroad. The know-how of Geneva banks in asset management is reputed around the world, and if the European clientele is largely represented, customers from other regions of the world (notably the Middle East and Latin America) are equally present. The discretion and respect for client privacy shown by Swiss banks are undeniably factors in the development of the Geneva financial marketplace which, thanks to currently favourable conditions, has the benefit of a non-negligible competitive advantage.
Important local firms, certain multinational corporations based in Geneva, public enterprises and non-governmental organizations make up another segment of the Geneva financial centre’s clientele. They frequently confide the management of their accounts and/or that of all or part of their pension fund assets to the establishments on hand. This clientele, very demanding as to quality of service, reliability and the administrative treatment of transactions, is also highly sensitive to the costs of these operations. The bank margins in this field are often reduced due to competition.