“We are Swiss and this Swissness will help us a lot. Clients respect it — I hope we will remain a global bank with a home base in Switzerland.”
~ Sergio Ermotti, UBS Group AG Chief Executive Officer
The Swiss are Swissbliss about their Swissness
Sergio Ermotti is the world’s most famous Swissness Spokesperson. He is a Swissness Zen Master, at one with his inner Swissness. Look how he masterfully scored the Swiss-trifecta: Swiss, Swissness, and Switzerland, in this recent quote (above).
Mr. Ermotti has SwissBliss about UBS’s Swissness. He also shared in an interview with Bloomberg Markets in last November issue, “We feel we are a Swiss-based organization, and Swissness is a competitive advantage.”
While Swissness has long been used to describe UBS private banking, Mr. Ermotti’s comment, “We are Swiss and this Swissness will help us a lot” was in reference to global wealth management.
Is Swissness the heart and soul of UBS Wealth Management Americas as well? See: “Americanism” Transition to “Swissness”.
Do U.S. UBS advisors feel it is the Swissness of UBS that gives them a competitive advantage and is helping them “a lot”?
There are several definitions for Swissness, but the feelings of which Swissness evokes are much more nuanced, meaning different things to different people. We deal with the definition here and the nuances in the corresponding BluePaper articles.
What exactly is Swissness?
Since no one here at Advisorbox is Swiss, we had a lot of questions about Swissness being a competitive advantage in wealth management.
- What is the distinction between simply being a Swiss citizen, or a Swiss firm, and the sweetness of Swissness?
- Can you be Swiss and not have Swissness or is it just a birthright?
- Is it possible not to be Swiss, but work for a Swiss firm, and absorb the Swissness through osmosis?
- Does UBS have indoctrination programs available for lost advisors who are ready to convert to Advisory Swissnessology?
- Are all these Swissisms the real reason why UBS doesn’t hire advisors who have a lisp impediment?
- Did Paine Webber get granted immunity from Swissness or did they have to convert?
- Will UBS soon be adding Swissness to their confidentiality and non-solicit provisions?
If being Swiss is the foundation of Swissness, one must look to Switzerland for the answer. Swissness legislation is a good place to start. The legislative project “Swissness” was started in 2006, and Switzerland passed what they term as “Swissness legislation” in 2015 which went into force January 1, 2017.
The legislation strengthens “Made in Switzerland” designation and the Swiss cross. The landmark legislation encapsulates Swissness as:
“Swiss products and services are associated with exclusivity, tradition, and quality, with their good reputation inspiring confidence in the product or service in question and ultimately influencing the consumer’s buying decision. It also presents a clear competitive advantage for manufacturers and service providers, who can position products and services linked with Switzerland in a higher price segment.”
Swissness is simply SwissSuperiority
This Switzerland legislation certainly agrees with Mr. Ermotti that Swissness presents a “clear and competitive advantage” for service providers linked with Switzerland. When UBS frames Swissness being an advantage over the competition in this way they are conveying, “The fact we are Swiss makes us better than you.”
So, if you were thinking that Mr. Ermotti’s statements about Swissness are a bit over the top, remember he has all the Swiss people, Switzerland, and Swissness legislation backing him up.
If Mr. Ermotti is referring to the spirit of Swissness represented by the Switzerland Swissness Legislation, then perhaps a more detailed explanation of what he could have said to explain the UBS Swissness advantage would have sounded something like:
“UBS represents the exclusivity, tradition, and quality of a Swiss company products and services whose reputation is so respected that it inspires confidence in UBS wealth management, to such an extent, that it ultimately influences the investor’s decision to hire UBS for our authentic Swissness, and pay a premium price for the privilege.”
American advisors can SwissKiss their clients goodbye.
How could the American exceptionalism that embodies U.S. advisors and firms possibly compete with this insurmountable UBS Swissness advantage? Advisors born and bred in America and affiliated with Made in America firms, will be helpless in preventing their clients from the mesmerizing power and Swissy lure of Swissness.
As a result, American advisors at American firms may soon be giving their American clients a SwissKiss goodbye, as clients depart for more Swissnessey advisors.
This article is both fact and satire. We leave it to the intelligence of our sophisticated advisor reader audience to distinguish the two.
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