Lombard Odier is a global wealth and asset manager, and a leader in sustainable investing. For over 225 years and through more than 40 financial crises, the Group has combined innovation and prudence to align itself with the long-term interests of its private and institutional clients.
The oldest Genevan private bank, Lombard Odier is today present in Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East, combining Swiss heritage with an international outlook. It continues to be an innovator in the field of investments and technology, having designed and invested in a state-of-the-art bespoke wealth management platform.
Lombard Odier is structured as a partnership, with independence at the heart of its model. It is formed of six Managing Partners who collectively own and run the bank, making decisions unanimously. This model takes into account the expertise and concerns of all Partners with their different perspectives and skill sets, creating a unified and dynamic partnership that is key to the Group’s success.
Since Lombard Odier was founded in 1796, it has stayed true to its primary vocation of preserving and growing its clients’ assets, and helping to pass them on to future generations.
Sustainability has been a core part of Lombard Odier for over 225 years, and remains at the heart of its investment approach and corporate strategy.
The Group continues to invest in and expand its market-leading sustainability research and investment team, whilst developing science-based, active investment strategies positioned to benefit from the environmental transition.
It has academic partnerships with the University of Oxford, having created the first endowed professorship of sustainable finance, Enterprise for Society Centre (E4S) to finance research on the transition to a circular economy, and Systemiq, the leading system change company, with whom it has partnered to build the sustainable asset management business holistiQ.
Long-term in its approach, Lombard Odier’s investment outlook focusses on the consequences of the environmental transition on the global economy, believing that profit pools are shifting as green technologies become more efficient and affordable than existing brown solutions. The Group believes that the environmental transition represents the greatest investment opportunity of our time, promising unprecedented returns for clients.
Lombard Odier was the first global wealth and asset manager to receive B Corp certification in 2019. In 2023, the Group was recertified and awarded an improved impact score.
Designed by the renowned architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron, Lombard Odier’s future headquarters features ultra-contemporary architecture that combines openness to its surroundings with elegance and innovation.
Known as ‘1Roof’, the building is being constructed according to the highest sustainability standards in terms of materials, renewable energy supply, circularity, employee well-being and more. The Group is aiming for three sustainable building certifications to provide a framework for its construction: SNBS [Standard Nachhaltiges Bauen Schweiz], Minergie-P, and BREEAM®.
Located in Bellevue, this emblematic building will unite all of Lombard Odier’s Geneva-based staff under one roof.
©Herzog & de Meuron
The origins of today's expertise
Towards the middle of the 18th century, Geneva was profiting from the rise of the textile and watch-making industries, which triggered an accumulation of capital and a subequent demand for skilled bankers.
Henri Hentsch established a silk-trading and commission business on January 11, 1796, before joining forces with his second cousin, Jean Gédéon Lombard on June 19, 1798. The two men described their principal business as "commissions operations", the exchange transactions necessitated by the multiple currencies in use during the period.
Jean Gédéon Lombard / Henri Hentsch
Open to the world's opportunities
During the Restoration, Geneva, now part of Switzerland, saw a return to stability and growth. Beginning in 1830, Jean-Eloi Lombard took over the bank’s internal development, acting as director for the next 40 years. His brother Alexandre struck out for new horizons as one of the first to recognize the potential of North America. Their new Partner, Charles Odier, attended to international financing operations, particularly in maritime and river transport and in the railway sector.
Charles Odier / Jules Darier-Rey
Businessmen committed to the rise of Switzerland's financial industry
In the mid-19th century, Alexis Lombard and James Odier took over the management of the firm and, over the next 50 years, helped to make it one of Geneva’s leading institutions. Testament to the bank’s contemporary celebrity is to be found in Jules Verne’s novel From the Earth to the Moon (1865), in which the Firm is listed among the backers of a fictional interplanetary project.
Driven by their entrepreneurial spirit, the Partners helped to create the Geneva Stock Exchange, Switzerland’s first such institution, in 1857, and the Swiss National Bank in 1907. They also pioneered the field of pensions: James Odier and Jules Darier Rey founded the first local life insurance company, La Genevoise, in 1872 and the bank established a pension fund for its employees in 1910, whereas Switzerland itself was not to begin considering a social security program until 1925.
The bank survives crisis
Although the First World War left Geneva unscathed, it had serious repercussions on business. At the international level, the end of the First World War brought with it new challenges in the form of restrictions imposed on free trade by the former combatants. Moreover, when the New York Stock Exchange crashed in October 1929, the gloom rapidly settled over Europe and ultimately reached Geneva. The bank rode out this difficult period, which featured a slow-down in its activities that was not to end until the Second World War had drawn to a close.
"The current mood of enthusiasm reigning on the Stock Exchange (…) makes it our duty to remind staff of the dangers of speculation"
Employee memo, May 3, 1927
Pioneers in an everchanging world
Driven by Marcel Odier, the firm became the first Swiss private bank to open a branch abroad, in Montreal in 1951, and the first European house to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange in 1979. Marcel Odier also persuaded his Partners to install the bank’s first IT system in 1957. On the business front, the 1950s saw other innovations, such as the creation and distribution of investment funds in Europe. The firm was also quick to note the needs of institutional investors and, in the early 1970s, established a department specially designed to meet their requirements. It was this same spirit of innovation that led to its participation in the creation of an electronic Swiss stock exchange in 1993.
The bank of tomorrow
Throughout its more than 225-year history, Lombard Odier has weathered many crises and emerged stronger each time, thanks to its long-term thinking and philosophy to ‘rethink everything’. Having developed a state-of-the-art, proprietary banking technology platform, the Group stays at the fore of innovation, empowering its bankers to spend more time with clients through the automation of administrative tasks. With innovation and sustainability at its heart, Lombard Odier continues to deliver on its core mission of preserving and growing its clients’ assets, helping them to navigate an increasingly complex world.