Together with Camille Vial and Yves Mirabaud, we represent the 7th generation at the helm of the Mirabaud Group. Our decisions represent our commitment to future generations
Mr. Mirabaud you are a member of the Henokiens. Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
> Nicolas Mirabaud: I am 47 years old and represent the 7th generation of the founders of the family business. I have been a Managing Partner since 2019. I come from the French branch of the Mirabaud family and joined the company 23 years ago. Over that time, I have held numerous positions in almost every department of the bank. There are now four Managing Partners, all with different responsibilities. I’m closely involved in the development of our Wealth Management arm, which is the Bank's core business. I am married, have two children - aged 16 and 11 - and regularly go running and skiing in winter.
Could you introduce your company and its activities?
> NM: The Mirabaud Group was founded in Geneva in 1819. We’re still a family-owned, 100% private company specialising in Wealth Management (portfolio management, investment advice, Private Assets selection and services for independent asset managers), Asset Management (institutional management, fund management and distribution, including private equity) and Corporate Finance (equity research, corporate advisory, capital markets and execution). The Group employs some 700 staff and currently has 16 offices in 10 countries. With almost 50% of our staff outside Switzerland, we are clearly an international Group.
What are some of the highlights of the last few years for your company?
> NM: I would point to the internationalisation of the Group over the last 20 years, which has seen us go from a presence just in Switzerland to having representations in 10 countries. I would also cite the celebration throughout 2019 of our bicentenary. The third and most significant milestone is one that traces its beginnings to the end of the bicentenary and which is ongoing: the transformation of the company through major IT, staffing and strategic projects aimed at firmly positioning the Group at the cutting edge of the industry, hewing to its highest standards, both in terms of investments and in the way we approach our business and our client relationships.
Can you tell us about your major projects in the longer term?
> NM: The major project driving us right now, and for the next two years, is the company’s digital transformation, at all levels, from the on-boarding of new clients, to client relationship management, the client experience via mobile, e-banking and our core banking infrastructure tools. This represents the largest investment in Mirabaud's history.
What are the reasons for the longevity of your company?
> NM: Our decisions represent a commitment to future generations. This form of responsibility is the best guarantee of the company's sustainability. Our business model of collegial decision-making by the Partners, along with an entrepreneurial spirit balanced with wisdom, have enabled us to get things right and to seize opportunities.
Is the extraordinary longevity of your company a plus in the relationship with your customers?
> NM: Of course, our clients come to us because they know that their private or professional assets will be managed in the same way as those of the Mirabaud family, with the sense of responsibility that is at the heart of our concerns; they can count on a total alignment of interests. Our long-term commitment makes the difference for many clients. Whereas others think in terms of quarters, we think in terms of years, even generations.
Are the traditional values that make your company strong also an asset in terms of research and innovation?
> NM: In today's world, basking in past glory is not enough, nor can one be in a state of permanent transformation. Mirabaud's values - independence, conviction, responsibility and passion - guide us every day in striking that subtle balance between tradition and innovation that we cherish and seek to perpetuate.
What do you see as the biggest pitfalls for your business in maintaining its independence?
> NM: Losing our identity or our attractiveness; in short, deviating from our clear strategic line could jeopardise our revenues and, ultimately, our independence. The best guarantee for preserving our independence is therefore to keep providing our clients with excellent services while remaining faithful to our values.
Has your family's desire to keep the company independent required difficult choices over the centuries? If so, could you name some of them?
> NM: Maintaining this independence and offering our clients the best advice without conflicts of interest has certainly made us forgo faster growth in areas of activity that are certainly more profitable but undeniably riskier. Our desire to keep our destiny in our hands to achieve less dazzling but more sustainable growth is explained by our client-orientated business model and not profit at all costs.
Are there clear rules for passing on your business to a family member?
> NM: No hard and fast rules, but there is a proven method that involves the Managing Partners identifying family prospects. The attention devoted to key people enables us to ensure that they are capable, talented and aligned with our values, so that one day they will be in a position to pick up the baton. These decisions are collegial and sometimes take several years to make; this deliberate approach also helps to avoid major casting errors. The company's long-term future comes before egos and individual ambitions, because, ultimately, we are not really owners but custodians for the generations to come. And this is certainly also our strength.
Is the new generation already in the company?
> NM: As the youngest of the current Partners, I dare to believe that I still represent the new generation. We also hope that between my children, the family of my cousin Camille Vial, CEO of the bank, and my cousin Yves Mirabaud, Senior Partner, the next generation will be able to take over when the time comes.
Would you have a message for those who would like to start a family business?
> NM: Numerous studies show that, after being long dismissed as a business model, family businesses are more stable, more profitable, more respectful of people and the environment. We encourage all those who are willing and able to do so to also embark on this exciting adventure. There is nothing more rewarding than passing on a business that is on an even stronger footing than when you received it from your predecessors.