30.10.2020

Cité Gestion’s goal is to reach 5 billion CHF asset under management at the end of next year

Cité Gestion continues to grow in the private wealth management market. During the last three years, the wealth manager firm has doubled in size from 2.2 to more than 4.5 billion Swiss francs assets under management and from 28 to 65 employees on its 3 sites, Geneva (Headquarters), Lausanne and Zurich. The independent wealth manager’s projections are : 

«For 2021, we’re aiming for a 10 to 15% growth of our assets under management which represent around half a billion», announced Guy Barbey, CEO at Cité Gestion, to L’Agefi.

The company also aims to recruit 10 new « experienced » wealth managers as in 2020. On one side, the development of Cité Gestion can be explained by its unique license granted by the FINMA which allows to have a dual status, as a custodian bank and as an independent asset manager. A unique business model that sets it apart from most traditional wealth managers, using Lombard Odier’s banking infrastructure. Established in 2009 by Lombard Odier, Cité Gestion has been taken over end of 2017 by its partners, including the CEO Guy Barbey.

«Being independent allowed us to grow faster» explains the CEO. «Lombard Odier wanted to develop our franchise in a different way. For example, it would have been impossible for us to recruit ten wealth managers like we did in 2020. This is understandable because we were a group subsidiary. The group policy was therefore different.»

It must be emphasized that the two companies remain close as Cité Gestion is a client of Lombard Odier’s banking infrastructure, its depositary bank service and its asset management. Cité Gestion also benefited from the merger with the German-speaking asset manager Ultra Finanz, announced at the end of 2018, which brought in around 800 million of additional assets. The balance of growth has been organic or resulting in hiring bankers.

«By becoming independent, we have gained flexibility in our choices. This opened more doors for us without ever hindering the solidity of the company. Our balance sheet is 350 million Swiss francs and our status as a securities house requires us to comply with all regulatory requirements.»

Today, Cité Gestion has the size of a small private bank in the Geneva financial center, like Banque Heritage or Gonet & Cie.

«We would like to continue growing significantly in the coming years. I believe that we have the profile and the business model that allows us to do so.» assures Guy Barbey. What is needed is to attract the right people. It is a the shareholders desire to continue growing nicely while controlling our risks.»

Cité Gestion announced a month ago the hiring of Patrick Voegeli, former board member of the executive committee of BNP Paribas Switzerland, as a partner and relationship manager. He joined the wealth management company to develop the Swiss-German speaking market.

«His experience, his network and his knowledge in banking and business environments will give us additional impact to expand our private clientele in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.»

Today, it represents 30 % of the clients of the wealth management company. The goal is to get to 50/50 with Geneva «as soon as possible». For Cité Gestion, the priority remains the Swiss market. In its transformation, the company is also preparing a change in its governance. Guy Barbey reveals that the institution plans to appoint two women as partners next year. They would then joint the thirteen men who make it up to this day. In addition, among the 35 relationship managers of the company, two of them are women.

We are in a good position today, the danger would be to grow too fast.

«I’m very happy with the growth of our company from a human resources perspective. Nevertheless, we say that a company remains this way up to 100 people… we are 65 today, the margin isn’t big any more», underlines with amusement the CEO.

In addition, regarding its assets under management, will the 10 billion be reached by 2025? Guy Barbey’s answer: 

«It would be possible if we merge with another independent manager or a small bank. I do not close the door to those two possibilities.»

SOURCE L'AGEFI 30.10.2020

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