Best private bank in Europe
Best private bank in Switzerland
Best global brand in private banking

Pictet, the quintessential Geneva institution, is going from strength to strength in the heartland of private banking. The bank’s key advantage, compared to its peer group, is its investment expertise, according to our judges. With uncertainty highlighted by the pandemic, its investment brains have been redrawing their strategies to add further emphasis to alternative assets. “Unlike at any other time over the past century, we believe that now, more than ever, is the time to consider investing in private assets,” says Sven Holstenson, head of Europe for Pictet Wealth Management. “For investors who can tolerate a large degree of illiquidity, we predict that private equity should continue to deliver highly attractive returns over the next 10 years.”

There are three reasons for this shift. First, over the next decade, the bank expects developed market equities to deliver returns one third lower than their average for the past 40 years. Including private assets could help offset listed equities’ declining return potential. Second, governments around the world have committed to big spending tickets to revitalise fragile economies undermined by the pandemic. This opens up new opportunities for private investors to allocate assets alongside public flows, much of which will go towards upgrading infrastructure. Thirdly, traditional sectors are being disrupted by technology and innovation. These disruptors often begin as innovative start-ups that can only be accessed by investors through private equity and venture capital. Pictet has also successfully negotiated several operational challenges, including three smooth CEO successions in Italy, France and the UK. The departure of tough-talking former Julius Baer boss Boris Collardi, following “careful consideration” is also seen as positive for the brand, despite his brief tenure as a partner. Members of the Swiss financial community say the move is a sign of the bank’s strength. “Pictet quickly identified Mr Collardi did not share the bank’s culture and persuaded him to move on,” says one senior consultant. YB