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PODCAST: Navigating financial turmoil with a Swiss private banker E-mail

Fifth-generation partner Gregoire Bordier discusses the balancing of risk and reward
 
 
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All bankers deal in some fashion with risk. But imagine not only being a private banker with clients of size from all over the world, but being a partner in a firm where you, as a partner, are completely exposed, no safety net.

“In such a partnership, you have unlimited liability and therefore risk is one of your main concerns,” says Gregoire Bordier. “And this is actually the thing that drives your business--risk.”

Earlier this year Ed Blount, longtime ABA Banking Journal contributing editor, interviewed Bordier, senior partner at Bordier & Cie, in ABA BJ’s New York offices. They discussed the experience of being a private banker in the midst of the financial crisis, and what makes a private bank in Switzerland tick.

Bordier brought a special perspective to the interview. Bordier & Cie is over 166 years old, and was founded by his ancestors. He and brothers Gaétan and Evrard represent the fifth generation involved in the company.

The private bank’s parent firm is based in Geneva, with offices in Berne, Zurich, and Nyon. More than 30 wealth managers serve an international clientele.

The firm speaks this way of the job of being a private banker:

“Personalized management of his customer's assets is the primary responsibility of a private banker. To satisfy customer expectations, he must also have the ability to provide legal and tax consultancy, advise him on appropriate fields of investment, offer management services for stocks and shares, together with access to innovative financial products and the opportunity to acquire investment funds or equities with a varying degree of volatility in line with personal performance expectations.”

The firm emphasizes the importance of client trust--an imperative of commercial banking, to be sure, as well, from Main Street to megabusiness.

“Whatever philosophy may be chosen by the customer and his manager, a partner is available to meet him at all times,” the firm states. “Personalized, individual and unique, the relationship which Bordier & Cie maintains with its customer is that of a true banker.”

Listen to Ed Blount’s interview with Gregoire Bordier

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