Alain Ucari: "our objective is to bring our know-how to the Monegasque market"

2020 03 Alain Ucari

With 530 billion euros in assets under management at the end of 2019, the Pictet Group, founded in 1805 in Geneva, is one of the world's leading international asset managers. Its 4,500 employees work in 28 offices around the world. The branch, which was recently opened in the Principality, is managed by Alain Ucari, a specialist in Private Banking.

What are the principles on which the Group's longevity is based?

The first principle is that of specialisation: we operate in a single business, wealth management, for private and institutional clients.
The second is the notion of partnership, which has existed since the Group's creation: it is managed by seven partners, who are both shareholders and managers. They evaluate the consequences of their decisions, and their approach to risk management is extremely rigorous. With a model based on partnership, Pictet seems to have found a way of making the most of the advantages of a family structure while minimising the risks involved. Choices are systematically made with a view to long-term development, based on an understanding of the client's needs, in the client's interest, and therefore in the interest of the business. Our balance sheet is very solid, which is a very reassuring factor for our clients.

What is the interest for the Group of its installation in the Principality of Monaco?

Monaco is the first place in the world for Ultra-High Net-worth Individuals, ahead of Switzerland and Singapore. The domestic Wealth Management market in the Principality is worth 120 billion, an interesting prospect for Private Banking specialists. Moreover, Monaco's economy is dynamic and diversified, and the country is politically stable, as is its legal and regulatory framework.

And conversely, what added value will the Pictet Group bring to clients in Monaco?

We bring international investment expertise and remarkable financial strength. Fitch Rating and Moody's Investors have given us the highest ratings in today's banking world since 2005 and 2009 respectively; they have remained unchanged since then, even during the last financial crisis. These ratings attest to Pictet's financial strength and the consistency of its strategy and management.
Our reputation is good and despite our low risk appetite, our high profitability puts us at the forefront of the wealth management market. Our goal: to bring our expertise to Monaco.

Can you tell us more about the structure in the Principality?

At the end of March, 25 people will be in place. The team includes 10 senior bankers with long experience of the needs of a sophisticated international clientele and a trading room of 4 people. Pictet Monaco is   under the supervision of the Banque de France and the Monegasque Commission de Contrôle des Activités Financières, but the links with the head office are close; we put all its expertise at the disposal of our clients.

The Group emphasizes its philosophy of "Sustainable Development and Responsible Capitalism". What are the concrete illustrations of this philosophy?

It should be noted that in 215 years of experience, Pictet has had 43 partners staying with the Group for an average of 21 years, which is a fine example of sustainability. Moreover, the staff turnover rate, at around 5%, is significantly lower than the average for the Wealth Management industry.

We are pioneers in responsible investment: we were among the first to offer funds focused on the environment and sustainable investment. In 2000, we launched the Pictet-Water fund investing in shares of international companies active in the water sector, particularly in water purification and desalination. Today, it weighs CHF 6 billion.
The Global Environmental Opportunities (GEO) Fund, with a portfolio of companies that combine strong environmental credentials with innovative products and services designed to preserve the world's natural resources, weighs CHF 2.6 billion.
Pictet offers other environmental theme funds: Pictet-Clean Energy (CHF 745 million), Pictet-Timber (CHF 458 million), Pictet-Nutrition (CHF 595 million).

In addition, the Pictet Group has decided to eliminate from its balance sheet any exposure (gross and net) to companies engaged in activities related to the production and extraction of fossil fuels (oil, gas and bituminous coal). The corresponding assets, which amounted to CHF 250 million at 31 December 2019, will be reduced to zero on 31 December 2020.

Mindful of the impact of our activities on the environment, we have also taken steps to significantly reduce the Group's carbon footprint. And we have set ourselves an ambitious target: to reduce the average carbon footprint per employee by 40% by the end of 2020.

Finally, the Group has an important philanthropic tradition, and supports more than 150 social, humanitarian, cultural and medical research projects...
In 2008, the creation of the Prix Pictet enabled leading photographers to study pressing social and environmental issues and raise public awareness.