“It’s a big responsibility to run a small office abroad.”
You started your career as a portfolio manager. What attracted you to sales?
Like almost everyone else in Holland working in Finance, my first job was at ABN Amro! I was working for discretionary clients such as foundations and small pension funds. I passed the CFA part I, but I wanted to deal more with people, events — not sit behind a desk crunching numbers. I saw how the sales people were dealing with clients, and I decided that that was what I really wanted to do.
Tell us about your first steps at Pictet?
I joined on 1 February 2012 to open the Amsterdam office and develop Pictet Asset Management’s sales and marketing activities. It was a long courtship. I met about ten people – first the headhunter, then the Head of Distribution for the Benelux countries and the Head of Distribution for Belgium, then Laurent Ramsey and Rémy Best. I never, for a moment, regretted joining; the aura, the mystique of Pictet as a private bank is a definite advantage. I’ve never had a hard time explaining why I moved.
What have you done to raise Pictet’s profile in the Netherlands?
We have been a pioneer among Pictet Asset Management’s overseas offices with our social media initiatives. Our approach is to draw on what is being produced in terms of investment content and what we miss, we produce locally. We are very active on Twitter and we recently added a local Facebook account, which is a great platform to discuss the interesting trends around our Thematic funds. In addition, we also communicate through LinkedIn and various investment adviser platforms. We want to be seen as a thought leader in the Netherlands and using social media is a very efficient way to help achieve this.
What are the challenges of running a small office abroad?
Clearly, it’s a big responsibility and working in a relatively small team does have its limitations. It’s also harder to get a feeling for Pictet sitting here, but luckily I travel quite a lot to other Pictet locations. Still, life in Amsterdam could be worse. I can cycle to work in fifteen minutes, drop into the Rijksmuseum anytime, and work in a beautiful location right on the canals.