Credit Suisse Eyes Social Network For Super Rich

Trademark Filing Cites Auction Services; Brokerages For Art, Yachts And More

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Membership for the three-comma club has been a hot commodity enjoyed only by Russ Hanneman and his billionaire counterparts in the fictional HBO show "Silicon Valley." But maybe not for long.

HBO's Silicon Valley (season 2, epsiode 4): Zach Woods, T.J. Miller, Thomas Middleditch, Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr
HBO's Silicon Valley (season 2, epsiode 4): Zach Woods, T.J. Miller, Thomas Middleditch, Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr Credit: Frank Masi/HBO

Credit Suisse is exploring the idea of making the money-club concept a reality, based upon a trademark filing for Eleven, an invitation-only social network of sorts for very high net worth individuals.

Eleven -- a play on the company's 11 Madison Avenue address in New York City -- would attract users with exclusive events such as private auctions, according to the filing and those in the know. The wealth threshold is currently unclear, but the goal would be to encourage people with assets of more than eight figures to join, they added.

According to Credit Suisse's trademark filing for the name, found on the Justia Trademark website, Eleven would provide "online social networking services" and "a website in the field of financial services, financial investing, venture capital, private equity, real estate, art, wine, jewelry, boats, yachts, cars and other luxury items and philanthropy."

The trademark filing broadens Eleven's services beyond just "social-networking services," listing uses such as conducting auction sales and financial investment services, including venture capital, private equity, hedge funds and real estate funds. Brokerage services for luxury goods like art, jewelry and yachts, as well as "online publications" on topics such as current events, finance, culture and business were also listed.

The move comes as financial institutions reach out to younger self-made millionaires and billionaires and as a generation of millennials come into inheritances. For banks, that may mean finding new ways to attract and keep clients who invest differently than their parents, according to a recent study by Merrill Lynch's Private Banking and Investment group.

"A full 72% of [millennial] respondents describe themselves as being 'self-directed' in their investing, with 41% reporting having no financial advisor of any kind," according to the survey polling 153 investors between the ages of 18 and 35 in 2013. A majority of respondents reported investable assets in excess of $3 million, and 28% said they have more than $10 million.

According to the UBS/PwC 2015 Billionaire Report, private wealth will trend toward more self-made, young and diverse billionaires over the next five to 10 years. The research indicates a growing number of self-made billionaires are "probably peaking at about 70% of the billionaire population." The study also references a growing diversity in billionaires, including more Asians, women and youth, thanks largely to "strong self-made billionaire growth."

Credit Suisse would not comment on Eleven, which is believed to be in the early exploratory stage and might never come to fruition. But it's clear that the financial services industry is aiming to attract a new generation of private wealth clients.

A number of banks have turned to "training camps" for clients' children who will inherit their parents' wealth, including offering seminars on investing, philanthropy and entrepreneurship, as well as mock auctions for high-end art, according to a Bloomberg story on the topic.

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