From tech to Pictet

Role: Senior Private Banker, Pictet Wealth Management, responsible for advising tech entrepreneurs as well as building brand awareness and strengthening Pictet’s ties to the tech community globally
Based in: London
Home country: Philippines
Hobbies: all things entrepreneurial in food, travel and education
Joined Pictet in: 2010

Agnes de Guzman, Senior Private Banker, Pictet Wealth Management, London

Where does your love for tech come from?

My father did his PhD in meteorology, specialising in tsunamis, before joining the World Meteorological Organisation in Geneva. My mother read Chemistry and became a programmer to support our family while she did her Master’s. That’s how I became fascinated with mathematics and science. I started off studying Chemical Engineering at UC San Diego, but I accidently walked into a Computer Science class one day and enjoyed it, so I stayed.

How do you move from computer science to relationship management?

During my studies I interned for a professor who was building a solar-powered catamaran that would sail round the world, only connected to the rest of the planet via the Internet. My responsibilities included coding but the more involved I became in managing the office, the project and the team, the more I realised I preferred the application and people aspect of technology.

And then on to wealth management...

Actually, I had never considered wealth management before. It was a classmate from business school who talked me into it. She told me that she loved the work and had a life, unlike the M&A tech bankers whose ranks I considered joining. So I decided to join UBS when it opened its wealth management business in London. For me, it was a well-funded start-up with a strong brand. It was exciting and intellectually challenging to build their offering in a new market.

Tell us about your first steps at Pictet?

I got in touch with an INSEAD alumnus who is a Partner at Pictet. My CV was then sent to the head of wealth management in the UK. He was very entrepreneurial and open to new ideas. When I joined, I was possibly the first banker at Pictet to focus on the tech entrepreneur sector. I can always count on his support for my efforts in building our offering for tech clients.

What are entrepreneurs looking for when they come to Pictet?

Entrepreneurs who have a liquidity event tend to have capital preservation as their main objective. They take enough risk with their own business. They have now achieved some wealth and prefer to avoid more volatility. This plays to Pictet’s strengths as we focus on protecting wealth and helping our clients sleep well at night, while being entrepreneurial and innovative ourselves.

In what ways does Pictet engage with tech start-ups?

We are global partners in three major initiatives in this area: Founders Forum, DLD (Digital-Life-Design) and the Tech Tour. They all give Pictet private bankers the unrivalled opportunity to interact with recent wealth creators of this and the next generation. We also organise an annual gathering for entrepreneurs, the Pictet Entrepreneurs Summit, that offers participants a platform for discussion to examine the intersection of entrepreneurship, personal wealth and social responsibility.

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Pictet Wealth Management