The ZWEI Tendering platform – Field report


In 2018 the volume of tendered assets doubled while more than 50 new banks and asset managers could be added to the ZWEI tender platform. Thomas Herrmann explains how tenders work, what distinguishes the process and in what direction the platform is developing.

How does the client journey look like when using the tender platform?

Thomas Herrmann: As ZWEI we do not manage money ourselves, but identify asset managers which (successfully) manage client portfolios or individual asset classes. The man- dates are usually advertised on the platform and over 200 asset managers can then submit their bids. The bids are evaluated by us and presented to the client.

Why does this process result in a better result?

TH: The platform creates competition and transparency. It has created a marketplace where there was none before. Banks and asset managers recommend their own asset management services as it is the only way they earn money. We do not receive any money or retrocessions from wealth managers and therefore conduct completely independent assessments. For us it is irrelevant which solution the client chooses. What is important is that the type of management chosen suits the clients and their goals. The search process also helps to create this important "match". 

Can’t investors just do this themselves?

TH: A client who is looking for a new asset manager or wants to compare an existing one can only cover a small part of the market. Even spot checking a small sample of banks and asset managers on your own is very time-consuming. And even then, clients often find it difficult to assess and spot the differences. The evaluation is then often influenced by factors, which are not necessarily relevant for the investment success (e.g. branding of a bank or asset manager, offices, personal contacts). We possess a large sample and can compare whether a manager is systematically better or worse, whether risks are well controlled and whether the fees are reasonable. 

How are banks and asset managers involved in this process?

TH: We see banks and asset managers as our partners. For them, the platform is very interesting. They have the chance to acquire new clients without having to pay for it. In 2018, our clients awarded man- dates worth just over 1 billion Swiss francs. In addition, banks and asset managers receive transparent feedback with every tender. This gives them the opportunity to see in which areas they perform well and where they need to improve in order to survive in the market. 

What are the plans for 2019?

TH: We are firmly convinced that clients will achieve the best results when independent advisors, asset managers and custodian banks work together – as independent players. The competitive process which we have established already via the tender platform for asset management services will also be further established in other areas, e.g. for custodian banks. We are also striving to make processes even simpler for clients and asset managers.


Facts and figures on the ZWEI tenders
Total volume of tenders since the beginning of 2016 CHF 1.8 billion
Volume 2018 CHF 1.1 billion
Number of different winners     37 Banks and asset managers
Discretionarily managed mandates (several asset classes) -78 percent
Special mandates (e.g. individual asset classes) 12 percent
Tenders for advisory mandates 10 percent
Average number of bids per tender 16