“It’s not about what you know — it’s about who you know.”
Yesterday I attended the Global High Net Worth annual conference in Monaco organized by Ian and Martina Brodie, publishers of MonacoLife, one of the most renowned English speaking newspapers in the Principality of Monaco. The conference was arranged in partnership with Savilles.
The event is planned to be annual and this first occasion took place in the heart of Monaco at Salon Bellevue in Café de Paris, and attracted professionals in wealth services and family offices for Ultra Rich Individuals (URI) from all over the world. The event was an excellent opportunity to network with the key Monaco figures in private banking, wealth management and real estate.
Ultra High Net Worth Individuals are defined as people having a net worth of at least US$30 million. According to Wall Street Journal, there were 199,235 UHNW individuals in the world in 2013, with a total combined net worth of US$28 trillion.
Billionaires are a special category of UHNW individuals, having net worth in excess of US$1 billion. According to Forbes, not surprisingly, Monaco has the highest number of billionaire residents per capita in the world.
Today Monaco is known for its tourist industry, but with its high concentration of world class experts and talents, Monaco is striving to become a leading competence centre for corporate investment and private equity.
This will drive local and contribute to global economic growth and to the image of the place as a safe and convenient world destination for UNHWs, many of whom have already chosen Monaco as their second home for its safety, natural beauty and exceptional lifestyle.
But successful business people after the great recession have different preferences than before. What matters today is networking in the sense “who else is there”. In todays global world, for success, and especially for business success, one’s knowledge and skills are less important than one’s network of personal contacts. We have written about this previously on this blog.
With the total population slightly over 36 000, Monaco is the most densely-populated place in the world, and also the most millionaire dense. One person in three is a Euro millionaire according to Spears 2014 global ranking.
Monaco does not have enough space to accommodate everyone who wish to have their home there, which leads to a challenge to make Monaco “home” for at least their wealth. The ambition for the Principality is to develop Monaco´s reputation and expertise in wealth management, investment facilitation and in ultimate efficiency of its financial services, first, to attract new wealth and, second, to satisfy those crème de la crème who are “already there” and can spread the “knowledge” further.
According to the Wealth-X survey, the average URI is connected to five times as much wealth as their own, through only three UR known associates and is connected to at least eight other UR individuals. Events similar to Monaco Private Label and Prince Albert II Foundation gala dinners and initiatives make sense to target the Ultra Rich and serve as a promotional tool for Monaco as an attractive investment destination.
The Principality´s agenda is busy with all sorts of business events, conferences and symposiums and the Global High Net Worth conference is exactly the kind of event Monaco needs in order to gain the reputation as the right place for investors to do business and “park” their wealth.
Yesterdays Keynote speaker, His Excellency Henri Fissore, Ambassador in detached service to the Prime Minister of Monaco, opened the conference with a speech where he emphasized the excellence of Monaco as a business destination, its unique incentives and offerings for high profile investors reinforced by strong government support.
The Conference agenda included vivid dialogues and a roundtable discussion on the up-to-date subjects relevant to the HNW professionals, to mention a few:
Ever-changing landscape of fiscal challenges
Political Turmoil and its impact on the Ultra Rich
Changing patterns in UHW big ticket expenditure
Reputation management for the UHNWs
The business agenda was combined with an exquisite entertainment offering, to experience the spirit and glamour of Monte Carlo. Whisky and Cigar tasting was on the agenda, with the Monte Carlo Whiskey Society and the Monaco Cigar Club, and the Gala dinner in the Pacific restaurant was just perfect.
How can one choose the right branding approach for a destination like Monaco to be attractive and reach out its target customers and taking into account the place unique capabilities? The article Place Branding as a Competitive Tool is about this.
In the case of Monaco, as I wrote about in an article last year, co-branding of all aspects of Monaco life (culture, tourism, healthcare, financial services) in the same direction is of vital importance, and this goes for all of the three target markets,visitors, residents and investors.