Private banking: Families seek havens from the storm
Super-rich families that have weathered the Madoff fraud and fund blow-ups, or are uneasy with state support for the parents of their private banks, are turning to independents or multi-family offices for wealth advice. Helen Avery reports.
THE TURN OF the year was a bitter time for some of the super-rich. "Many wealthy families were unsure whether to send a Christmas card to their private banks this year, or a writ," says the former head of a large UK family office. He has a point. The insistence by private banks that they are on the same side as the client, that only appropriate products will be recommended, and that there is no incentive for the bank to invest client money in particular funds, has been blown out of the water by revelations of investments in Bernie Madoff’s funds and, in the UK, in an AIG fund. Private banking clients of Santander, Union Bancaire Privée, Banco Popolare, Neue Privat Bank and EFG are among many with exposure to Madoff’s alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme.