Geneva banker: ‘Independence is more important than portfolio management’

By Camilla Giannoni

Article published in City Wire on 07 May, 2018

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Geneva banker: 'Independence is more important than portfolio management'

Increasing regulatory pressure, the end of banking secrecy and the financial crisis have heralded difficult times for the independent asset management industry. The number of wealth managers was expected to drop and consolidation seemed the only way forward.

In an exclusive interview, Julien Froidevaux – head of financial intermediaries at Piguet Galland – has told Citywire Switzerlandhow his study strays away from the consensus and why independence is key to good performance within the asset management industry.

Froidevaux said: ‘Company structure and independence are more important than portfolio management because you need to start from the basics to be able to offer quality service.’

Through his research, Froidevaux has identified variables that are essential for an independent asset management firm to perform. Starting with 150 criteria, he has narrowed them down to the most relevant ones: independence, reputation, quality and time spent with the clients.

He said: ‘People care so much because it is their business. If it is yours you want to beat the competition and be the best. If you are small either you are good or you die.’

According to a study carried out by Credit Suisse and the University of St. Gallen, the number of independent asset management firms is expected to decrease by 3.6% annually.

The report has also predicted that the consolidation trend within the independent asset management industry will strengthen in the next three years: 39% of the companies are looking to grow through acquisitions, 32% through mergers, whilst 17% are considering both.

Froidevaux however does not share this view: ‘I do not believe in consolidation, but I believe that companies will share expertise.’

He believes that to navigate the uncertain market conditions and be successful, wealth managers need to be confident, transparent and curious.


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