swiss asset management costs study 2021
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Swiss Asset Management Study 2021

October 5, 2021 - Benjamin Manz

Independent Swiss online comparison service studied the costs of Swiss asset management in 2021. The results show that asset management services remain expensive. Those offered by conventional banks are more than twice as expensive as new online asset management services.

With interest earnings under pressure, offering investment products to customers is becoming increasingly important for many Swiss banks. But how do investment advisory and asset management services perform in a comparison? Independent online comparison service studied the costs of offers from major Swiss retail banks and digital asset management services (robo advisors) to find out.  

The results show that on average, a customer who uses conventional asset management services for a portfolio worth 1 million francs will pay 13,667 francs (around 1.37%) per year in fees. The average cost of using digital service providers would be much lower, at 6214 francs (around 0.62%) per year. Additional costs like fund fees and currency exchange markups are not accounted for in those figures.

“Asset management is becoming more important for Swiss banks. At the same time, the appearance of new online services poses a challenge for banks over the long term,” says CEO Benjamin Manz. Digital asset managers are steadily increasing their share of assets under management, even if somewhat slowly at this stage. “The slow adoption is one of the reasons why the cost of conventional asset management in Switzerland has not changed much over the past years,” says Manz. But a massive acceleration in the development of digital asset management services is likely. Robo advisors may well become a competitor to be reckoned with.

Stock portfolios are expensive

The average flat fee charged by conventional banks for a stock portfolio (80-100% stocks) worth either 250,000 or 500,000 francs is around 1.4% per annum. For a stock portfolio worth 1 million francs or more, a conventional asset management customer will pay an average of 13,667 francs – approximately 1.37% – every year.

The flat asset management fees do not cover all costs. For example, the investment funds used for your portfolio generally charge fees, and you generally pay these on top of the asset management fee. So customers of many banks pay twice: On the one hand you pay an asset management fee, and on the other hand you also pay fees charged by funds. The cost of fund fees can be similar to the asset management fee.

Other costs like taxes, currency exchange markups and stock exchange fees may also be charged separately.

Big differences in fees between banks

There are big differences between individual asset management offers (you can use the interactive asset management comparison to compare them). Depending on the amount invested and the portfolio used, the cost of the most expensive service can be twice as high as that of the cheapest service.

The cheapest conventional bank for a 1-million-franc investment in a stock portfolio (between 80% and 100% stocks) is the Sparkasse Schwyz, with a 6500-franc annual flat fee (ETF mandate). It is followed by Bank Cler and Migros Bank (both 11,000 francs), the direct investment mandate (Einzeltitel-Mandat) from Sparkasse Schwyz (11,500 francs), the Basler Kantonalbank, and the Zürcher Kantonalbank’s Premium mandate (both 12,000 francs).

Conventional asset management – investment capital: CHF 1 million

Service provider Mandate Annual flat fee
Sparkasse Schwyz ETF mandate CHF 6'500
Sparkasse Schwyz Direct investment mandate CHF 11'500
Bank Cler Asset management CHF 11'000
Migros Bank Direct investment mandate CHF 11'000
Credit Suisse Invest mandate (Index) CHF 13'500
Basler Kantonalbank Asset management CHF 12'000
Zürcher Kantonalbank Premium asset management CHF 12'000
Zürcher Kantonalbank Classic asset management CHF 13'000
Berner Kantonalbank Asset management CHF 15'000
Raiffeisen Raiffeisen Global in CHF CHF 15'000
Credit Suisse Invest Mandate (Funds) CHF 15'500
Valiant Classique asset management CHF 15'500
Valiant Helvetique asset management CHF 15'500
UBS Manage Advanced CHF 18'500
Credit Suisse Invest Mandate (All Instruments) CHF 19'500


Asset management fees can be higher or lower depending on your risk profile – which translates into a bigger or smaller stock component – and the amount you invest. It is worth comparing asset management service based on your specific needs (with the comparison, for example).

Investment advisory services compared

In theory, an investment advisory service lets you as the customer decide on each investment before it is made. In practice, investment advisory often works much like conventional asset management, and fee structures are often similar. Many banks offer more several different investment advisory mandates with different fees and services. More expensive options may include more consulting services and have lower fees for stock market investments.

For a stock portfolio worth 250,000 francs, the Sparkasse Schwyz is the most affordable of the compared banks (750 francs per year). It is followed by Credit Suisse with Invest Compact (1250 francs per year), and the Plus investment advisory mandate from Sparkasse Schwyz (1500 francs per year).

Traditional investment advisory – investment capital: CHF 250,000

Service provider Mandate Annual flat fee
Sparkasse Schwyz Investment advisory CHF 750
Credit Suisse Invest Compact CHF 1'250
Sparkasse Schwyz Plus investment advisory CHF 1'500
Zürcher Kantonalbank Classic investment advisory CHF 2'375
Basler Kantonalbank Excellence investment advisory CHF 2'500
Credit Suisse Invest Partner CHF 2'625
Valiant Professionnel advisory CHF 3'375
Bank Cler Excellence Plus package CHF 4'000
UBS Advice CHF 4'500
Credit Suisse Invest Expert CHF 8'625


Digital asset managers

An increasing number of digital asset management services – often called robo advisors – now operate in Switzerland. The main difference between these and conventional asset management services are that they are only offered over the Internet. You normally do not receive consultation. These digital service providers primarily use exchange traded funds (ETFs) – as opposed to the actively-managed mutual funds which are widely used in conventional asset management.

The disadvantage of these digital services is that they generally are not suitable for people who want personal consultation.

The main advantages of robo advisors are that you can use them even if you only have a relatively small amount of money to invest, and they are significantly cheaper than conventional banks.

Costs of digital asset management for 25,000 francs

Most customers use robo advisors for relatively small amounts of money, so compared fees for a portfolio worth 25,000 francs.

Swiss robo advisor users with that amount of wealth under management pay an average flat fee of 189 francs (around 0.76%) per year. Additionally, they pay an average of 0.28% in product costs (primarily ETF fees). When calculating product costs, used the maximum possible costs, so actual costs may be lower.

Findependent has the lowest asset management and product fees for a 25,000-franc portfolio, at 167.50 francs per year. Next in line are True Wealth (170 francs) and Clevercircles (212.50 francs).

With most digital service providers (as with conventional services), incidental fees like currency exchange costs and taxes apply on top of basic asset management and fund fees.

Digital asset management services – investment capital: CHF 25,000

Service provider Annual flat fee Annual product costs Total
findependent CHF 110 CHF 57.5 CHF 167.5
True Wealth CHF 125 CHF 45 CHF 170
clevercircles (CIC) CHF 162.5 CHF 50 CHF 212.5
Sparbatze CHF 97.5 CHF 125 CHF 222.5
Descartes Finances CHF 162.5 CHF 62.5 CHF 225
Selma Finance CHF 170 CHF 55 CHF 225
Raiffeisen Rio CHF 162.5 CHF 75 CHF 237.5
PostFinance E-asset management CHF187.5 CHF 62.5 CHF 250
Digifolio (BLKB) CHF 187.5 CHF 70 CHF 257.5
SaxoSelect CHF 187.5 CHF 70 CHF 257.5
Inyova CHF 300 CHF 0 CHF 300
Swissquote Robo-Advisor* CHF 312.5 Variable More than CHF 312.5
Simplewealth CHF 240 CHF 75 CHF 315
Vontobel Volt CHF 240 CHF 150 CHF 390

*On September 15, Swissquote has reduced the fee to 0.75%, which is CHF 187.50 in this example.

Costs of digital asset management for 1 million francs

Because robo advisors aim to provide a viable alternative to conventional asset management, also compared the costs of mandates worth 1 million francs.

Some digital asset managers charge fees at lower rates when you invest larger amounts. These include Clevercircles, Inyova, Selma Finance, and True Wealth.

The average asset management flat fee charged by Swiss online asset managers for 1 million francs is 6214 francs per year – the equivalent of around 0.62% of the invested amount. Additional product costs come to around 0.28% per year. So asset management and products costs combined come to an average of 8976 francs per year.

For a 1-million-franc investment, True Wealth leads the compared services, with flat-fees and product costs totaling 5700 francs per year. It is followed by Inyova (6000 francs), Clevercircles (6500 francs), and Findependent (6700 francs). Vontobel Volt is the most expensive of the service providers compared, with annual costs of 15,600 francs – more than double those of True Wealth.

Digital asset management services – investment capital: CHF 1 million

Service provider Annual flat fee Annual product costs Total
True Wealth CHF 3900 CHF 1800 CHF 5700
Inyova CHF 6000 CHF 0 CHF 6000
clevercircles (CIC) CHF 4500 CHF 2000 CHF 6500
findependent CHF 4400 CHF 2300 CHF 6700
Selma Finance CHF 4700 CHF 2200 CHF 6900
Simplewealth CHF 5000 CHF 3000 CHF 8000
Sparbatze CHF 3900 CHF 5000 CHF 8900
Descartes Finances CHF 6500 CHF 2500 CHF 9000
Raiffeisen Rio CHF 6500 CHF 3000 CHF 9500
Swissquote Robo-Advisor* CHF 9500 Variable More than CHF 9500
PostFinance E-asset management CHF 7500 CHF 2500 CHF 10000
Digifolio (BLKB) CHF 7500 CHF 2800 CHF 10300
SaxoSelect CHF 7500 CHF 2800 CHF 10300
Vontobel Volt CHF 9600 CHF 6000 CHF 15600

*On September 15, Swissquote has reduced the fee to 0.75%, which is CHF 7500 in this example.

Comparison of digital and conventional asset management

A comparison of digital asset managers with conventional asset managers shows interesting results. The average flat fee charged by conventional asset managers for a 1-million-franc portfolio is 13,667 francs or 1.37% per year, compared to 0.62% for digital asset managers. So conventional services cost more than twice as much as digital services.

Then there are the product fees which are charged on top of the flat asset management fee. Some conventional banks do not publish these, making a comparison with digital asset management services difficult. But samples show that the products used in conventional asset management are notably more expensive than those used by digital service providers because traditional banks tend to use actively-managed investment vehicles.  

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Expert Benjamin Manz
Benjamin Manz is CEO of and an independent expert on banking and finance.