“Verbier, a success story for Julius Baer Switzerland”

Care, passion and excellence, these are the hallmarks of Julius Baer, the no. 1 wealth management group in Switzerland. Opened in Verbier in 2008, the Bagnes branch now employs 17 members of staff. The business which is established in the magnificent premises on Route des Creux and is managed by Florian Michellod, specialises in wealth management. An interview with the director.

Florian Michellod et Eric Rosset

How important is Verbier for Julius Baer ?

We hold a distinctive place within our Swiss region and amongst our five branches in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, with Geneva, Lausanne, Crans-Montana and Sion. Verbier offers specific characteristics with its dynamic nature and openness to both Swiss and international clients. This has contributed to the constant development of our office in Verbier over the last few years. And this positive trend continues.

Tell us about the main attributes of the bank.

First of all, there’s the importance of the brand Julius Baer, which has earned veritable recognition and trust, that have been acquired over its long history since its foundation in 1890. Operating solely in wealth management, the Julius Baer bank manages around 429 billion assets worldwide. The considerable international development that has occurred over the past few years hasn’t bypassed Switzerland, which holds a unique position as the bank’s domestic market.

Julius Baer is “Big enough to matter, small enough to care.” This means that we’re big enough to offer a complete range of solutions but small enough to be remain very close to our clients’ needs. That’s really important.

Our team in Verbier embodies this approach perfectly. I’m lucky to be supported by 16 very competent colleagues. The composition of our branch reflects our vision of the profession : a substantial structure that remains on a human scale, flexible with multiple competencies. The strength of Julius Baer Verbier lies in the seniority of some of our advisors associated with the vision of our young talents, together with the support and expertise of our specialists and the help of a team of assistants.

What makes you different from other banks ?

As I see it, our big difference from other banks is firstly that we focus on one single core : wealth management. As a result, the Julius Baer business model benefits from relatively low risk characteristics.

Furthermore, each advisor has a limited number of clients and consequently is able to devote him or herself entirely to the monitoring of their individual portfolios.

In addition, Julius Baer offers a large range of solutions that are perfectly adapted to the needs of our clients regarding investment, inheritance planning and mortgage credit.

How can you meet the needs of a very visible international clientele in Verbier ?

The international clientele that come to Julius Baer is a clientele that has requirements in investment, wealth management and property finance. We are well prepared to deal with this sophisticated clientele, thanks to the direct access we have with our ­investment and wealth ­planning specialists, who have significant knowledge of different international issues.

Furthermore, each relationship manager is assigned to a few markets as a priority. They follow continual adaptive training so as to be constantly informed of implemented changes.

One of our greatest advantages in Verbier is to have a significant percentage of foreign clients who are domiciled in Switzerland.

What is the link between Julius Baer Switzerland and Verbier and why is it important for you ?

Julius Baer Switzerland is made up of 12 sites spread over the regions, because at heart, we want to be close to our clients. With a strong anchor in its environment, each branch has its own speciality and importance.

A large majority of the Julius Baer Verbier clients have a direct link with the resort. Due to our investment and stability, we can maintain a relationship of trust with them over the long term.

Between being president of the SDV (Verbier Development Committee) and the director of Julius Baer, how do you manage these two roles ?

I don’t mix the two roles. Of course, I meet a lot of people within my work for the SDV, but I keep things separate. When I’m talking about tourism, I don’t talk about Julius Baer. When I’m at Julius Baer, of course I’m going to speak about tourism because it’s in my heart. I’m always talking about Verbier with enthusiasm because the resort is an important factor of our prosperity. A large part of our prosperity is equally due to the dynamic nature of the resort. A great number of my colleagues are also invested in local associations.

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