The next gene­ra­tion with a new invest­ment strategy

Through inheritance, responsibility for large fortunes is passing to the next generation – a generation with its own objectives.

Invest­ment stra­te­gies are inevi­ta­bly set to change,  as wealth passes incre­asingly into the hands of a youn­ger gene­ra­tion. The current Swiss inhe­ri­tance study by Zürcher Kanto­nal­bank esti­ma­tes that a total of CHF 88 billion was inhe­ri­ted or given away in Switz­er­land last year. That is almost twice the amount distri­bu­ted annu­ally through AHV. Inhe­ri­ted assets have grown signi­fi­cantly in recent years; the volume has increased five­fold since 1990. In Switz­er­land, every second franc of wealth is inherited. 

New objec­ti­ves

‘For the youn­ger gene­ra­tion, it’s a given that entre­pre­neurs and inves­tors, really ever­yone, should focus not only on maxi­mi­sing their own returns. They should also concen­trate on making a diffe­rence by promo­ting a sustainable life­style,’ says Giuseppe Ugazio, profes­sor at Geneva School of Econo­mics and Manage­ment (GSEM), where the DAS Stra­te­gic and Opera­tive Phil­an­thropy is about to start. 

“It’s ‘obvious’ to youn­ger gene­ra­ti­ons that both entre­pre­neurs and inves­tors should care about more than maxi­mi­zing their own returns.”

Giuseppe Ugazio, Profes­sor at the Geneva School of Econo­mics and Management

The fact that the course begins with a module on phil­an­thropy and finan­cial instru­ments reflects both the importance that it atta­ches to the subject of finance and the students’ expec­ta­ti­ons. The students are very inte­res­ted in lear­ning more about successful social entre­pre­neurs and inno­va­tive, sustainable invest­ment stra­te­gies. ‘They are looking for examp­les of phil­an­thro­pic initia­ti­ves that have mana­ged to scale inter­ven­ti­ons and create market oppor­tu­ni­ties to replace seed funding,’ says Ugazio. In the recent past, the sepa­ra­tion between phil­an­thropy and finan­cial invest­ments has thus become more porous. ‘The search for attrac­tive and effec­tive ways of mobi­li­sing finan­cial resour­ces to support phil­an­thro­pic objec­ti­ves has been a very important trend in recent years, both in acade­mic rese­arch and prac­ti­tio­ners’ stra­te­gies,’ explains Ugazio. New finan­cial tools such as impact inves­t­ing not only aim to maxi­mise returns – they want to make a social impact too.

 Perso­nal commitment

Anto­nis Schwarz hat an der Harvard Kennedy School den Kurs zu nach­hal­ti­gem Inves­tie­ren von Falko Paet­zold besucht. Dieser ist heute Initia­tor und Mana­ging Direc­tor des Center for Sustainable Finance and Private Wealth (CSP) an der Univer­si­tät Zürich. «Das Thema nach­hal­ti­ges Inves­tie­ren mit einer eige­nen Abtei­lung zu fördern hat mich über­zeugt», sagt Anto­nis Schwarz. Er hat Falko Paet­zold deshalb als Co-Grün­der des CSP unter­stützt. Das Thema ist Anto­nis Schwarz wich­tig. Er ist selbst Impact-Inves­tor. Die Fami­lie des Deutsch-Grie­chen hat in Deutsch­land das Phar­ma­un­ter­neh­men Schwarz Pharma gegrün­det und an die Börse gebracht. Als er 18 Jahre alt war, hat die Fami­lie das Unter­neh­men verkauft. Auch er hat einen Teil des Vermö­gens geerbt. Zuerst hat er das Geld nicht ange­rührt, statt­des­sen hat er studiert und mit dem Master in Manage­ment abge­schlos­sen. Schliess­lich hat er ange­fan­gen, sich phil­an­thro­pisch zu enga­gie­ren. In Grie­chen­land initi­ierte er 2013 die NGO Vouli­watch (Vouli heisst auf Grie­chisch Parla­ment). Das Inter­net­pro­jekt will den Graben zwischen Politiker:innen und Bürger:innen schlies­sen und bietet bspw. die Möglich­keit, öffent­lich Fragen an Abge­ord­nete zu stel­len. 2016 hat Anto­nis Schwarz in Berlin die Guer­rilla Foun­da­tion gegrün­det. Nach­dem die Stif­tung beim Start auch Flücht­lings­pro­jekte in Grie­chen­land und Social Entre­pre­neur­ships unter­stützt hatte, hat sie sich bald auf die Förde­rung von Gras­wur­zel­be­we­gun­gen und sozia­len Bewe­gun­gen fokus­siert. Auch mit seinem Vermö­gen will Anto­nis Schwarz Wirkung erzie­len. Er hat ein Impact-Invest­ment-Port­fo­lio mit einem sehr langen Anla­ge­ho­ri­zont. Dabei kommu­ni­ziert er auf der Website trans­pa­rent, wo er inves­tiert ist und wo er sich phil­an­thro­pisch enga­giert. Dane­ben hatte er sein priva­tes Geld zu Beginn in einem Fonds ohne strikte ESG-Krite­rien ange­legt. Damit er seine eige­nen Vorstel­lun­gen dies­be­züg­lich umset­zen kann, schich­tete er den Gross­teil seines Privat­ver­mö­gens in ein ESG-Mandat bei einem Münch­ner Vermö­gens­ver­wal­ter um. Für Anto­nis Schwarz war es entschei­dend, dass er Titel verkau­fen kann, wenn diese nicht seinen Werten entspre­chen. Ursprüng­lich war er ein gros­ser Verfech­ter von Deves­ti­tio­nen: Bspw. hatte er alle Unter­neh­men, die mit fossi­len Ener­gien wirt­schaf­ten, aus seinem Port­fo­lio entfernt.

Anto­nis Schwarz atten­ded Falko Paetzold’s course on sustainable inves­t­ing at Harvard Kennedy School. Today he is the initia­tor and mana­ging direc­tor of the Center for Sustainable Finance and Private Wealth (CSP) at the Univer­sity of Zurich. ‘I was inte­res­ted in setting up a dedi­ca­ted depart­ment to promote the subject of sustainable inves­t­ing,’ he explains. As a result, he supported Paet­zold as co-foun­der of the CSP. The subject is important to Schwarz, as he is an impact inves­tor hims­elf. His German-Greek family foun­ded the phar­maceu­ti­cal busi­ness Schwarz Pharma in Germany and floa­ted it on the stock exch­ange. When he was 18, the family sold the busi­ness and he inhe­ri­ted part of the proceeds. He did not touch the money at first, choo­sing instead to study for a Master’s in Manage­ment. Gradu­ally, howe­ver, he became invol­ved in phil­an­thropy. In 2013, he set up the NGO Vouli­watch in Greece (Vouli is the name of the Greek parlia­ment). The inter­net project aims to address the gap between poli­ti­ci­ans and citi­zens by, for exam­ple, allo­wing the public to put open ques­ti­ons to members of parlia­ment. In 2016, Schwarz foun­ded the Guer­rilla Foun­da­tion in Berlin. After initi­ally support­ing refu­gee projects in Greece and social entre­pre­neur­ship, it soon began to focus on promo­ting grass­roots and social move­ments. Schwarz is keen to use his assets to make an impact too. He has an impact invest­ment port­fo­lio with a very long invest­ment hori­zon and uses the website to commu­ni­cate trans­par­ently his invest­ments and phil­an­thro­pic invol­vement. He initi­ally inves­ted his perso­nal money in a fund without strict ESG crite­ria. In order to realise his own ideas in this area, he moved most of his perso­nal assets into an ESG mandate with a Munich-based asset mana­ger. For Schwarz, the ability to sell shares that did not tie in with his values was crucial. He is a big advo­cate of dive­st­ment and remo­ved all busi­nesses invol­ved in fossil fuels from his portfolio.

Finan­cial report­ing is not enough

Along­side his phil­an­thro­pic work, Schwarz works as an impact invest­ment consul­tant for the non-profit analy­sis and consul­ting firm PHINEO. In 2022, PHINEO inves­ti­ga­ted the acti­vi­ties and commit­ments of the new gene­ra­tion of family-owned enter­pri­ses in the German-spea­king region. ‘Next­Gens respect the commit­ment of the previous gene­ra­tion, but want to set their own focus,’ the study claims. They attach more importance than the previous gene­ra­tion to making a posi­tive social impact. This has chan­ged the expec­ta­ti­ons of family offices too. The study found that the new gene­ra­tion expects more than finan­cial report­ing – it also demands non-finan­cial report­ing on the busi­ness’ social impact. The new gene­ra­tion is a cata­lyst for new approa­ches and new products. ‘Impact inves­t­ing is very much driven by the youn­ger gene­ra­tion,’ says Schwarz. 

‘Next­Gens respect the commit­ment of previous gene­ra­ti­ons, but want to set their own priorities.’

Anto­nis Schwarz, philanthropist and impact investor

Howe­ver, he feels that the gene­ral level of know­ledge on the subject could be impro­ved and empha­si­ses the importance of conti­nuing educa­tion program­mes. ‘The new gene­ra­tion wants to do things differ­ently and they’re gradu­ally coming into the money,’ he explains. He is also invol­ved in another initia­tive, which inves­ti­ga­tes how dormant bank accounts in Germany could be used as a resource to bene­fit society. Curr­ently, funds from inac­tive accounts in Germany go to the bank after 30 years. ‘We want to create a social invest­ment fund (SIF) instead. If the genuine account holders cannot be traced, the funds should be used to bene­fit society via the SIF. And we want that to happen after 10 years,’ says Schwarz. In Switz­er­land, money from dormant accounts is trans­fer­red to the state after a period of 60 years.

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