The financial crisis has shaken the wealthy's faith in financial markets and is changing their attitude to banks and investments, according to a UniCredit Private Bank survey of European millionaires.
Some of those interviewed were even considering a partial pullout from financial markets because of the crisis, said the study, which took the views of more than 100 rich people interviewed in Germany, Austria, Poland and Italy.
"What looked like a very resilient system and a well-functioning market has become a casino first and now a skittish market and minefield," the report said.
UniCredit, Italy's biggest bank by market value, will release the report on Monday. A copy was made available in advance to Reuters.
Banks' image with the rich is under heavy pressure, the survey said. Advisers change too often, and banks appear more concerned with selling their products than giving personalized advice.
"Everybody will, slowly and over years, start to think differently about money, investments, banks and financial counseling," it said.
Andreas Woelfer, head of UniCredit Private Banking, said the report showed many clients wanted advice but had lost trust in banks due to the financial crisis. As a result, they would be more often prepared to seek a second or third opinion.
This intensifies the competitive pressure among banks and forces the financial industry to redouble its effort to regain the trust of clients.
"You have to be much more open to understand their business, their goals and their overall life, and not only to concentrate on the best performance of a little part of their liquid assets," Woelfer told Reuters in an interview.
Woelfer said his unit would change how it interacted with wealthy clients, with more appreciation of their largely conservative and family-oriented mindsets.
"The values of those people are much more similar to the rest of the population than many people think," he said.
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