Swiss private bank Pictet releases first ever results

The elite of Swiss private banks began lifting the veil on their books after a radical shift in their business model, amid tougher international regulations and crackdowns on tax dodgers.

Geneva’s Bank Pictet broke with a 209-year-old tradition of keeping its accounts under wraps, announcing a six-month profit of 203 million Swiss francs (168 million euros, $222 million).

Operating income was 975 million francs, operating profit 247.2 million, and assets under management 404 billion francs.

Pictet said that tier one capital ratio — a measure of a bank’s own top-notch funds, and a benchmark of stability — was 21.7 per cent. Under global rules, banks must have a ratio of at least 4.5 per cent, while Switzerland’s regulator requires 7.8 per cent.

“Our financial solidity, along with the ability to set our own business strategy without pressure from external shareholders or creditors, go hand in hand with independence of mind, exacting risk management and freedom from the temptations of short term fashion,” said Pictet senior managing partner Jacques de Saussure in a statement.

“All the figures published will be important, even if these banks are not listed,” said Andreas Venditti, an analyst at Zurich’s Vontobel Bank.

The revolution in the secretive world of private banking — which caters for the globe’s super-wealthy — began in January when Pictet and Lombard Odier ditched their two-century-old statutes.

Previously, their handful of wealthy managing partners were personally responsible for their clients’ money. In other words, if the bank got into trouble, the partners could lose all their assets, not just those they had invested in the operation.

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