Private Banking

Hunting for the Super Rich

Jaeger mit Jagdhund, hunter with hunting dog
Quick! I just saw a banker in the undergrowth.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Hunting trips and other high-end incentives are common in private banking circles. But in times of severe cost-cutting, it sends a mixed message to bank employees.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Private bank Bethmann is a subsidiary of the Dutch bank ABN Amro.
    • It recently took over the German private clients of Credit Suisse, as well as their annual hunt.
    • Bethelmann is inviting wealthy clients to go hunting for deer and boar in November.
  • Audio

    Audio

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No other species is hunted so eagerly these days as the rich and super-rich. Doing business with well-to-do clients is a stable source of income for bankers – and in uncertain times like these, that’s worth a lot. So it’s no surprise banks come up with ingenious ways for getting such promising targets in their sights.

In a few weeks, Bethmann Bank will sound a hunting call. The Frankfurt-based financial institution is inviting wealthy clients to go hunting for deer and boar in November in the Hohenloher Land, a region in the southwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg.

“Many clients are enthusiastic about the idea,” said a Bethmann spokesperson.

For Bethmann, a subsidiary of the Dutch bank ABN Amro, the upmarket hunting event is a novel way of bagging business. It inherited the hunt from Credit Suisse after it took on the large Swiss bank’s private clients. Hopefully, it won’t also acquire the Swiss bank’s image problems.

Hunting invitations are common in private banking circles, to gain the loyalty of rich and super-rich customers.

Credit Suisse has been going through a strict cost-cutting program and in the fall of 2013 tightened the screws even more. So last year, when the bank sent out its expensive invite to well-heeled German customers to go on a “woodland hunt for wild boar, deer and fox,” it left a bitter taste for many employees, according to Inside Paradeplatz, a Zurich-based financial news website.

While Credit Suisse was trying to save every penny it could – even by cutting back on office plants and coffee at its headquarters – it was happy to invite German guests “in the name of the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.” Two hunts were planned for the event last November, followed in the evening by dinner in formal attire.

The truth is, hunting invitations are common in private banking circles, to gain the loyalty of rich and super-rich customers. So too are other high-end experiences, such as driving a Porsche on the Nürburgring racing track, playing in polo and golf tournaments, or preparing meals with famous chefs.

The only difference is that these other activities are more likely to appeal to rich animal lovers than the Hohenloher hunt – at least if the culinary event involves a vegetarian menu.

 

Elisabeth Atzler is Handelsblatt’s banking correspondent. To contact the author: handelsblatt@vhb.de

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