Liechtenstein at 300: How the tiny European state became a global economic power
The Principality of Liechtenstein, nestled between Switzerland and Austria, is Europe’s fourth-smallest state, but it has managed to become one of the richest nations in the world. Celebrating its 300th anniversary this year, Liechtenstein occupies an area of only 160 sq km and has a population of 38,000 people, yet it has an impressive GDP per capita that is more than double that of the United States.
The Princely Family of Liechtenstein, which reigns over the country, is one of the oldest noble houses in Europe. Having acquired the territory which would become Liechtenstein in 1719, the Princely Family has continuously presided over the country into modern times.
Today, the Principality of Liechtenstein is a constitutional monarchy and, in addition to heading the country, the Princely Family pursues a wide range of interests, from owning the world’s largest private collection of major European artworks to wine production at its own vineyards.
Over the course of its 300-year history, Liechtenstein has transformed into a leading player on the global economic stage, standing out as one of only five debt-free states around the globe today. Despite its small size, the country’s focus on exports has made it an innovation hub, offering the perfect environment for creative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit.
As the Principality of Liechtenstein celebrates its 300th anniversary year in jubilee, it is a timely moment to look back in admiration over its three solid centuries of rich cultural heritage and financial stability, as the nation warmly invites visitors to discover and explore its history and stunning natural scenery in person.
Although Liechtenstein may be associated with its strengths in manufacturing, an attractive alpine climate, and collectable postage stamps, it is in the world of finance that the Principality truly shines. Known for its outstanding stability and security, the country’s financial system is a foundation for Liechtenstein’s success, attracting institutions with its professional, resourceful and business-friendly characteristics.
One secret behind the country’s financial acumen is the indomitable foresight and guidance of its hereditary rulers. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the success of LGT Group, the family office of the Princely House of Liechtenstein and the largest global Private Banking and Asset Management group to be owned by an entrepreneurial family.
Established in 1930, LGT takes inspiration from the Princely House, and its 30 generations of experience. Today, the bank remains very much a family-run enterprise, with Prince Philipp, younger brother of Prince Hans-Adam II, the nation’s ruler, currently its Chairman, and Prince Max, Prince Hans-Adam’s son, its CEO. The Princely Family’s ownership ensures that traditional values and virtues such as reliability, respect and integrity are firmly embedded in LGT’s corporate culture.
As a testament to its success, LGT Group has grown from a small presence in Liechtenstein to 20 locations worldwide. LGT Private Banking, the private wealth management arm of LGT Group, adheres to traditional values while providing bespoke and innovative investment advice and wealth planning solutions to high and ultra-high net worth clients around the world.
With respect to Asia, LGT opened a small representative office in Hong Kong in 1986. Today, it has over 800 Asia based employees, with offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok and full booking platforms in Hong Kong and Singapore. In 2018, LGT was ranked among the Top 10 private banks in Asia, in the Asian Private Banker League Table. LGT’s evolution in Asia, like the history of Liechtenstein, is rooted in principles such as a long term commitment, vision and innovation – values worth sharing, 300 years ago, now, and for many more anniversaries to come.