Interview with Jamie Vrijhof-Droese from WHVP Weber Hartmann Vrijhof & Partner 

Let’s start with a short description of yourself and your background.

I started my career over a decade ago at a large Swiss bank where I worked in different departments, amongst others in Private Banking. After that, I worked for some smaller companies in finance and consulting before I decided to join my father’s company WHVP three years ago. I am now one of the Managing Partners and besides taking care of our clients, I am also responsible for the business development.

What exactly does WHVP do?

We are an independent asset manager specialized in working with US clients. We focused on the American market from the company’s inception in 1991. We collaborate with different private banks in Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austria, which act as custodian banks for our clients' accounts. Then, with a limited power of attorney, we manage our clients' portfolios based on conservative, long-term-oriented capital preservation strategies. We offer a personalized service and make sure that our portfolios are insulated against a US dollar depreciation, yet capitalize on overseas investment opportunities.

As a Swiss wealth manager, why did you decide to register with the SEC in the United States?

This has been a logical step for us. As mentioned before, the vast majority of our clients are based in the US and having decades of experience in this market, we took the step of registration as soon as it presented itself. Being registered with the SEC enables us to freely work with US clients and even meet with them in the United States.

How does WHVP’s offering differ from other SEC RIAs?

Besides our very long track record the main point of differentiation is our low minimum investment size. While most private banks have a minimum of USD 1 mn. and many registered investment advisor have a minimum of USD 500,000 or more, it was important to us to be able to accept clients with lower minimum amounts. The reason for the high minimum investment size is usually the minimum fees that are being charged by the custodian banks. We managed to negotiate a deal with one of our partner banks that enables us to work with clients starting from an investment size of USD 250,000. We want to make world-class, Swiss asset management available to as many people as possible.

Switzerland has for many years been a top destination when it comes to financial services. Why is that?

There are many reasons for that. In our view, the main points are Switzerland’s history as a financial center and the resulting experience and expertise. There is also the political neutrality, economic stability and Switzerland offers great deposit protection. In addition to that, Switzerland has one of the strongest and most stable currencies in the world. I have actually just recently written an article about this topic where I talk about these advantages in more detail.

What particular needs does an American investor have?

From our perspective, there are two main considerations for American investors.

The first is asset protection. While we do not offer any asset protection services ourselves we have a great network of companies that we can refer our clients to. In our opinion, an offshore bank account is a great addition to existing structures such as trusts or LLCs.

The second one is geographical diversification. It makes sense to distribute your wealth into different countries and currencies. Working with an offshore investment manager also enables you to profit from his or her unique point of view and local expertise that you wouldn’t get in your home country.

Where can readers go if they would like to learn more about your company?

A great way to start your research is our website. If you are interested in learning more about our market outlook and investment philosophy, you can also sign up for our newsletter “The Swiss View”. Or just give us a call at +41 44 315 77 77 , we are always happy to talk to interested people and answer any questions they may have.

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