My name is Marc Pictet and I'm the 40. I represent the eight generation of the Pictet family.
Mr. Pictet you are one of the member of the Henokiens Association, could you please present yourself to our readers?
> Marc Pictet: My name is Marc Pictet and I have been a Managing Partner of the Pictet Group since 2011. This makes me the 40. Managing Partner since Pictet’s foundation in 1805 and I represent the eight generation of the Pictet family.
Can you present your company and its activities?
> M.P.: Pictet is one of the leading European independent wealth and asset managers. We offer wealth management, asset management and related asset services. Our purpose is to build responsible partnerships with our clients, colleagues, communities and the companies in which we invest, in order to safeguard and transmit wealth, of all kinds, in the service of the real economy.
Which have been the outstanding events for your company in the recent years?
> M.P.: We opened three offices around the world in 2020: In Monaco in February, in New York in October and lastly in Shanghai in November, the latter symbolising our belief in the bright present and future of Asia.
I would also highlight our decision to construct a new building in Geneva, next to our current headquarters. Equipped with the most advanced technology, it will also serve as a blueprint for environmental integration in an urban environment. It will be called Campus Pictet de Rochemont and symbolise both our long-term vision and a strong attachment to Geneva.
Could you give us some indications about your major projects in a medium or long term?
> M.P.: Besides the Campus Pictet de Rochemont, our major projects are closely linked to our strategy “Ambition 2025”, where we identified seven major themes that we believe will shape the financial sector and have considerable implications for investors, our clients and the Group. For instance, we believe in the (further) rise of Asia, especially China, hence our objective to further establish Pictet in Asia – symbolised by our most recent office in Shanghai. We have already been present in Hongkong, Singapore and Taiwan for several decades, in addition to our long commitment to Japan, where we currently are the second largest foreign fund distributor.
Another theme we believe in, is the growing importance of private assets.
Last but certainly not least, we aim to significantly reduce the environmental impact of our activities and investments. For example, we eliminated balance sheet exposure (both gross and net) to fossil fuel producers and extractors.
How can you explain the longevity of your company?
> M.P.: An important lesson that I took from my uncle Charles Pictet, our former Senior Partner, was not to become obsessed with the latest fashions. His advice stands for two of the five guiding principles of Pictet, which I believe explain the longevity of our company: Long-term thinking and independence. Our independence is rooted in Swiss tradition and protected by the absence of external shareholders. The other three key principles are partnership, entrepreneurial spirit and responsibility. By being independent and thinking about the long-term we are inclined to take responsible decisions beyond the current generation. By acting as partners – internally and with our clients – and by keeping an entrepreneurial spirit, we make sure to not only focus on the present, but also to remain open-minded and be prepared for the future.
Could you say that this extraordinary longevity is an asset in your customer relations?
> M.P.: Definitively. Our longevity proves that we not only talk about long-term thinking and responsibility, but that we actually do it. Our clients, among them entrepreneurs with family businesses, value our knowledge and experience. After all, the primary objective is to hand over the Group to the next generation in a better state than before. In this respect, we have the same goals and face the same challenges as many of our clients.
Do the traditional values guiding the firm constitute an advantage as regards research and innovation?
> M.P.: We like to consider ourselves, as Stephen Schwarzmann, co-founder of Blackstone once called Pictet, a start-up that is more than 200 years old. Traditions and experience are very important to us and our clients. But I would argue that almost any successful company which has existed for so long, has had to constantly reinvent itself.
Which are the most important traps, that your company must avoid in order not to loose its independence?
> M.P.: We must remain faithful to our five guiding principles – long-term thinking, independence, partnership, entrepreneurial spirit and responsibility - and not cede to short term fashions and external pressure. For instance, we have no external shareholders, which gives us the luxury to take decisions independently.
Is the transmission of the firm to a family member governed by clearly established rules?
> M.P.: Yes, it is. Since foundation in 1805 and there have been only 43 partners with an average tenure of over 21 years. The company is jointly owned and managed by six to nine (currently seven) Partners. The business does not pass down by linear descent through one family, but members of selected families act as Partners and we apply a three-generation formula: Our goal is to appoint new Partners roughly every five to ten years. Hence, the youngest Partners usually are in their early 40s, there are two or three Partners aged between 45 and 55, while the most experienced Partners are generally aged between 55 and 65. This multigenerational aspect ensures that experience and knowledge are transmitted smoothly.
Do you have a message to communicate to all those who would like to start their own family business?
> M.P.: It is a great adventure with many challenges, but you should always remain true to your values and act responsibly. Being part of a family business is a source of great satisfaction and pride – as it is the case for me and the Pictet Group.