BERTRAND DEMOLE 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Pictet & Cie)
One year ago, against the backdrop of air-raid sirens, Pictet & Cie, a Swiss
bank with a history of more than 200 years, opened an office in Tel Aviv. In an
interview with The Jerusalem Post, Bertrand Demole, one of the bank’s eight
partners, updates us on the current situation and discusses his views on the
markets and the specific needs of Israeli clients.
“One year on, we are
very happy with the progress we have made,” he said.
“At a recent event
attended by over 150 guests, we inaugurated the Prix Pictet Power exhibition at
Artstation Gallery in Tel Aviv.”
This global photography prize, launched
by the bank in partnership with the Financial Times
in 2008, is dedicated to the
topic of sustainability and in particular the way it relates to the environment.
Through outstanding photography, the prize aims to shed light on the changes
taking place in the world around us and raise public awareness of the urgent
need to take action to address these issues.
“Although we are, first and
foremost, responsible to our clients, we are answerable in everything we do to
our employees, society in general and the world in which we invest and live,”
Demole said. “Our sense of responsibility has contributed to and arises from our
long history of stability and continuity.
“Part of what we offer our
clients is a very safe bank, as we do not put our balance sheet at risk through
risky lending, whether it’s commercial lending or mortgage lending. Also, the
group’s equity level is well in excess of the Swiss legal requirements, among
the most stringent in the world. With our business focused solely on wealth
management and asset management, together with asset services, we continue to
invest in what we know best, both in our home territory of Europe and
globally.”One year on, have you reached your targets for the Israeli
“When I became a partner in 2011, we had $359 billion in assets under
management and custody. At the end of September 2013 we have over $433
During that time, the number of staff the bank employs worldwide
has risen from over 3,200 to more than 3,400 and we have opened four offices,
one of them in Tel Aviv.
“We do not like to set targets, but prefer to
grow slowly and naturally. We are committed to organic growth and have never had
a merger or acquisition in our history. Growth is not our primary objective.
However, serving our clients and investing in developing the quality of our
business is. We believe that if this is done correctly, growth will
“The successful businesses of tomorrow are those that are able to
adapt to a world which is changing fast. An example of how the Pictet Group is
able to adapt was the setting up of Pictet North American Advisors in 2006, an
entity dedicated exclusively to meeting the specific needs of US nationals, who,
like other nationalities around the globe, face specific constraints when it
comes to their investment needs. Today, PNAA manages close to $3.6
billion.”And what are your views of the markets?
We believe that the
global economy is going through a normalization process and that its effects are
spreading through the different asset classes.
It started with gold,
spread to equity markets in the developed world and has now moved on to bond and
currency markets. One of the most significant milestones along this long and
winding road will involve the US economy gradually putting down the sturdy roots
required for self-sustaining growth. Ultimately, this will bring about a change
in regime for financial markets – to one where GDP and earnings growth will be
the fundamental risk factors. This will mark a shift from the period of crisis
between 2008-2012 when systemic risk and central-bank monetary policy played a