Secrets of Kuwaiti ultra high net worth, revealed by a Swiss banker

Published March 23rd, 2010 - 12:59 GMT

Research conducted by Heinrich Weber, Swiss Banker and author of ‘The Ultra High Net Worth Banker's Handbook,’ estimates that there are 150 ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWI) in Kuwait after the crisis with an average wealth of US$370 million. In comparison, estimates show that there are around twenty thousand (20,000) UHNWI in existence today, with more than 25 percent or 5,150 of them residing in the United States.

Between them, they possess wealth that exceeds US$5,000 billion, which is equivalent to 10 percent of the world's estimated total wealth. The UHNWI wealth management business is therefore a critically important as well as complex field within the realm of modern finance.

“Kuwaiti UHNWI are mostly highly successful investors and business people and thinkers in general, from whom we can learn a lot. They invest money slightly more aggressively than Europeans and US investors,” says Heinrich Weber, author of ‘The Ultra High Net Worth Banker's Handbook,’ his third book and written in collaboration with his fellow Stephan Meier. “They are globally better diversified than US investors and invest significantly in real estate and private equity holdings, or acquire controlling stakes in listed local companies.”

Weber goes on to say that UHNWIs often suffer from the burden of high expectation (by the society, parents, brothers and sisters) and isolation, due to their suspicions regarding consultants and friends’ true interests. Such suffering can be alleviated by participating in workshops or meetings with peers from different geographies.

With UHNWI clients seeking not only to protect their assets but also to exploit new investments, private bankers need to improve both their technical and human skills and expand their international network.

This book aims to optimize relationships between wealth managers and Ultra High Net Worth individuals, classified as individuals with more than US$50 million in liquid assets.

Executive Vice-President of one of Switzerland's leading private banks, Heinrich Weber reveals the secrets of wealth management using his experience and expertise in the banking industry. Weber is a Certified Alternative Investment Analyst and Professional Risk Manager.

Before joining UHNWI banking, Heinrich was active in the area of derivatives trading, and is a cofounder of the pan-European options market-making firm Servisen Trading AG, where he served as CEO. He holds the Certificate of Quantitative Finance and IMD’s Certificate of Lifelong Executive Learning. He participated in the Advanced Management Program at Instituto Empresa business school. Prior to this, he studied at Lausanne Federal Polytechnic School.

Stephan Meier, 48, is head of a private banking UHNWI practice for one of the global leaders in this area. He has been a specialist in UHNW clients since April 2008. Prior to that he was head of key clients for a major region at another global wealth manager, as well as country team head of Latin America for two international banks.

Before focusing on private banking, Stephan spent 17 years working for a globally Swiss manufacturer and distributor of products that capture, model, analyse and visualise spatial information. He held various senior positions – including managing director, senior consultant and area sales manager – in different legal entities of the group, both in Switzerland and in Latin America, where he built up a strong network.

On the one hand, The Ultra High Net Worth Banker's Handbook provides bankers with valuable information about UHNW clients' needs and on the other hand, it gives ultra-riches an insight into wealth managers' challenges. This will increase comprehension, enrich their relationship and eventually improve the outcome.

It is destined to private bankers who work or aim to work in the Ultra High Net Worth field as well as for UHNW clients. UHNWIs have increased their expectations and wealth managers must now develop a wide range of competences in order to survive in this competitive industry.

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