Patrick Odier
Patrick Odier

Safe gains, focus for banker

Economy June 11, 2018 01:00

By   WICHIT CHAITRONG
THE NATION

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LOMBARD Odier has brought back an attitude of safe investment and uses two glasses – digital technology and sustainability – to predict the future and to serve clients’ needs in the fast-evolving financial market, says a Lombard Odier executive, one of the world leaders in the private banking business.



Having thrived for more than two centuries, Lombard has learned very important lessons, which help the company provide better services to clients in asset management, said Patrick Odier, senior managing partner of Lombard Odier. 

Lombard, in recent years, has launched a “Rethinking Everything” concept of private banking. “It is what we have been doing over two centuries, to make sure that our focus is to look at everything that happens around us and question it in the way that could contribute to a quality analysis, recommendation or advice to our clients,” said Odier, a descendant of the Odier family and owners of the Switzerland-based Lombard Odier.

He pointed to fast-evolving financial markets, especially in the last 40-50 years, when finance has been utilised differently from the past. The actors in the industry have moved away from the role of protecting assets, or away from depositors and credit providers, to become more active in many other activities. This phenomenon has created vast opportunities in the short term but at the same time creates large risks and weaknesses in the long term, he said.

The last global financial crisis triggered by propagating of securitisation in the United States and Europe is an example of that, he said. 

Financial institutions had sold a lot financial papers to clients who did not understand the associated risks, leading to their losing their houses when they could not service the exotic mortgage packages. The financial institutions had lost a sense of responsibility, he said, recounting the 2007-2008 crisis.

He said asset and wealth managers at Lombard Odier emphasise on investment protection by looking at long-term investment rather than short-term gains in managing client assets, whether to choose equities or fixed-income assets to portfolios.

“The new things bring a lot of uncertainties and surprises, so we have to be creative, quick enough and agile enough to use opportunities to develop our conviction,” said Odier. 

To focus on safe investment, Lombard has been using two important tools, digital technology and sustainability glasses, according to Odier. 

The digital technology glass helps the bank to predict what kind of services clients may need in the future. The company has also built its digital technology platform and many other financial organisations have recognised it and use it to manage their information technology and back-office operations. Currently, personnel working at Lombard’s technology platform account for 25 per cent of its total staff worldwide, he said.

The sustainability glass helps Lombard to choose the best firms in the industries to its portfolios. It does not mean we choose those in the sustainability field but it could be any company that does business sustainably, he said. 

The company takes into account global environmental issues, the rising ageing population, and the consumption theme for its investment strategy, he said

As Lombard is not a listed company, there is no pressure from shareholders to make short-term gains. “Independence is a privilege,” he said.

He praised KBank Private Banking as a trusted partner for serving high net worth clients in Thailand and helping them with wealth management 

After three year of partnership, Kasikorn executives said last month that the high net worth clients had bought into its three funds – K-SGM, K-GREAT and K-APB – worth a combined Bt30 billion.