Pioneers discover the unknown.
Like where to invest next.
— Renaud de Planta, Senior Partner
A Pioneering Approach
Pictet is a 216-year-old pioneer. It has constantly shown its ability to keep the entrepreneurial flame alight. In the 1850s Pictet made its first foray into real estate development, investing in a company to exploit the surplus land released by the demolition of Geneva’s defensive ramparts. During the Second World War, the Group took over and restored an ailing property rental business. In 2018 it set up a direct real estate investment unit. From 1941 Pictet controlled and chaired Zschokke, a major Swiss civil engineering company.
Pictet has been most successful when it focused on its essential business: managing investments on behalf of clients. Guillaume Pictet’s trips to the US and Mexico at the turn of the 20th century gave rise to two remarkable entities. First he took control of a Geneva-listed, closed-end fund set up to invest in Mexican companies. In time it became the main vehicle for collective international investment by Pictet’s private clients. The second was Amerosec, founded in 1910 to invest in US electricity stocks. It became Pictet’s flagship US equity vehicle. Having served its purpose for 80 years, in 1990 it was relaunched as Pictet’s first fund-of-hedge-funds.
Pictet’s international outposts embody the pioneering spirit. Typically, local executives are trusted with the time and resources to build a business from scratch.
Through a certain lens the partners can be seen as angel investors, seeding new internal ventures, matching opportunity with talent, and allowing people the time and freedom to flourish. Some of the greatest contemporary examples are the thematics franchise and alternative assets; emerging equities and debt—especially local currency debt; outside Switzerland the asset management business in Japan; and both the asset and wealth management businesses in Italy.
Pictet’s international outposts embody the pioneering spirit. Typically, local executives are trusted with the time and resources to build a business from scratch. From the opening of London in 1980 onwards, each overseas base has been the fruit of strategic calculation, successively Tokyo, Zurich, Luxembourg; Hong Kong and Singapore; the Middle East; European expansion; and in 2020, the first foothold in the world’s two biggest savings markets: the United States (New York) and China (Shanghai).