Photos: Alex Zakharov

The private banking sector, often seen as a world of glamour and exclusivity akin to a spy novel, remains out of reach for most. On March 12, Master Students at Lauder Business School were given a rare glimpse into this elite world by Adam Lessing, Ph.D., Head of Relationship Management at LGT Bank Österreich, who shared insights into the bank’s services and its commitment to long-term, sustainable success.

A lawyer by training, Dr. Lessing´s career as an investment banker started when he realised he had a real talent to successfully connect with people, because ultimately, honest connection forms the basis of any transaction. As the personal advisor of many high-net-worth clients from Central and Eastern European countries, Dr. Lessing puts trust at the heart of what he does. Clients will only entrust their most precious assets to an advisor who understands that the wins need to be generational, just like families are.

With long-term perspective at the forefront of his investment strategy, a philosophy adopted company-wide and expressed in the bank´s motto: “Forward looking for generations,” Dr. Lessing stressed LGT’s special emphasis on sustainable investing. Particularly resonant in an environment where family-centric values are paramount, the bank channelled its aims to effect positive change in the environment and society by committing to reducing their net emissions from operations and investments to zero by 2030. The bank actively avoids investments that carry significant Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) risks, proactively advises their clients to follow this principle and, at the same time, manages sustainability risks through a comprehensive framework, using tools like the LGT Sustainability Rating and adhering the UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking guidelines.

As an advisor, Dr. Lessing focuses on supporting his clients to achieve a long-term balance between risk, return and impact. Dr. Lessing mentioned using an investment model practiced by Ivy League universities, as well: harvesting an illiquidity premium from the clients´ investments. With around 60% of LGT´s investments illiquid, Dr. Lessing highlighted the long-term benefits of investing in assets that are not easily sold or converted into cash.

Overall, LGT´s investment process adheres to the traditional methodology of building a diverse and risk efficient portfolio tailored to their clients´ financial goals, risk tolerance and desired impact. The bank prioritizes long-term safety and transparency over engaging in speculative or daredevil investment tactics for the families they serve. This conservative approach extends to the bank´s client acquisition and expansion practices, as well. Given the bank’s commitment to maintaining its reputation and the safety of its clients’ assets, LGT exercises meticulous due diligence when taking on new clients and adopts a cautious stance towards sources of wealth.

Preserving family-centric values, LGT offers their clients the opportunity to align their financial goals with those of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein through shared investment strategies. This approach leverages the royal family’s extensive cross-generational knowledge in areas like philanthropy and governance, ensuring clients benefit from a legacy of wisdom and a commitment to long-term prosperity.

While the complexities of Dr. Lessing’s role may be difficult for the general public to grasp, our students were granted the opportunity to delve into the workings of LGT Bank, understand its pathway to success, and engage directly with Dr. Lessing to learn how to emulate his career achievements. Ultimately, our students had the chance of discussing LGT’s internship opportunities with Ms. Silja Köbrunner, Senior Human Resources Business Partner at LGT Private Banking.

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