Banque Pâris Bertrand Sturdza (PBS) is a growing private banking group created in Switzerland in 2009 and is owned by its founding partners, who have significant successful experience in major Swiss and International financial institutions. Georges Gagnebin, former global CEO of UBS Wealth Management, is the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Between 2008-2009, the global financial crisis emphasised the structural weakness of the banking system as a whole. The partners became convinced that a focused, unbiased bank with no conflict of interest and using the best techniques, combined with long-term and conservative values, would be far more suitable to demanding private and institutional clients. As a result, this niche strategy and positioning allowed PBS to build a true and long lasting partnership with its clients. After less than eight years in business, PBS is now well recognised in Switzerland and in Europe for its quality of services and superior tailor-made investment solutions for wealthy private investors and institutions.
The bank counts important family offices, renowned entrepreneurs, pension funds, financial institutions, prestigious foundations and governmental/non-governmental organisations amongst its client base across Swiss and western European markets. Institutional clients represent a significant part of the bank’s assets. This expertise has been noticed and recently recognised by The European with the ‘Institutional Clients Private Bank of the Year’ award for 2017.
PBS has, since its inception, experienced an average annual growth of 40% of its assets under management (AUMs). By the end of 2016, the bank’s AUM reached CHF4.5bn. Recently, the bank expanded in Luxembourg to provide Swiss quality banking services to Europe-based clients.
The institutional activity of PBS is based on three offers: management of tailor-made portfolios (multi-assets, gold, Equity, Private Equity mandates and more), advice on asset management and intermediation of specific expertise. PBS’ offer is characterised by simple, transversal and innovative solutions that cover all asset classes. The bank distinguishes itself with an asymmetric approach to prioritising capital protection. The notion of maximum loss is crucial in its risk management process.
Due to the support and confidence of Swiss pension funds, PBS has also developed a strong expertise in managing balanced portfolios via a dynamic and systematic tailor-made asset management approach.
Since its early days, the founding partners were convinced that PBS had to offer solutions to address the needs of their clients in private markets. Initially, the bank provided access to top quartile fund managers in the private real estate industry and also structured interesting club deals for its clients. Today, PBS has strengthened its position in private markets by setting up Hermance Capital Partners (HCP), an investment boutique focusing on private markets. HCP provides a wide range of investment solutions across high-conviction strategies with attractive risk-return profiles. Through its modular approach, HCP enables qualified investors to build a diversified portfolio of high quality private assets. HCP is managed by a group of seasoned investment professionals having invested in private markets since the late 1980s. Collectively, they have managed over $6bn in commitments for institutional and private clients. Through the different investment strategies, HCP seeks to invest in top-tier private equity, private debt or private real estate funds. In addition, it offers tailor-made solutions in primary funds, secondaries and co-investments for investors.
The bank favours an ‘advisory’ approach versus a ‘product’ approach to avoid potential conflict of interests but also to provide non-biased, qualitative services to its clientele. Through its private banking and family office businesses, PBS operates a qualitative ‘less is more’ approach, limiting the number of clients per advisor. This set up allows them to give quality time and service for each client and help build a true partnership.
Being close to experienced investors, and thanks to its size and flexibility, PBS is in a unique position to propose adequate investment solutions in a timely fashion. PBS has been able to bring under the same roof public and private market experts, fundamental and systematic analysis and institutional and private client relationship management.
The overall strength of Banque Pâris Bertrand Sturdza’s model was once again recognised by KPMG’s ‘Clarity on Performance of Swiss Private Banks’ study in 2016. For the second year in a row, PBS has been ranked in the ‘Strong Performers’ category, a rank achieved by only 18% of Swiss private banks. In addition to the recognition of each individual employee’s contribution to PBS, this top rank is also testament to PBS’ choice of model since its creation and of its ambition to offer first-class service and best-in-class advice with an innovative and entrepreneurial structure. The success story of PBS has been consolidated by numerous awards and prizes received throughout the past years, such as the 2017 award for ‘Best Swiss Domestic Private Bank’ awarded by WealthBriefing.
With its ongoing growth and expansion, an important focus has been put on recruitment: selective hiring, from entry-level positions to senior advisors, is very important to PBS. Recruiting employees who share PBS’ values and long-term view requires careful continuing efforts.
As a Swiss financial institution, PBS complies with a highly regulated environment. With no legacy, a transparent and aligned fee structure and an independent model, PBS has demonstrated its ability to navigate smoothly through the current regulations since its creation. Founding partners, Pierre Pâris and Olivier Bertrand, work side-by-side in pursuing the successful development of the bank by anticipating tomorrow’s challenges.
Innovation is one of the key topics for 2017, it will be one of the most important challenges for PBS in the years to come, whilst maintaining the bank’s traditional values and Swiss know-how. The bank’s diverse business model is a true asset and allows the bank to conduct business progressively in the current economic context.
Despite its significant growth and good results, PBS continues to remain focused. Its commitment has been and will remain, to deliver outstanding services and a strong performance to its clients.