First steps in Asia
The Pictet Group’s history in Asia dates back to 1981, when the Group opened its first office in Tokyo for research and liaison purposes.
The Group later went on to register as an investment adviser in 1986. A decade of local expertise then enabled Pictet to become the first foreign asset manager to be entrusted with a corporate pension fund in 1991. In April 1986 Pictet opened an office in Hong Kong, followed by Singapore in 1995.
Increase in staff and services to best serve Asian client
In 2003, to meet the needs of its global clients who were interested in having their assets held in Asia, Pictet set up its "Asian Booking Centre" in Singapore.
This was the ideal location, as the city boasts all the advantages of a stable political and regulatory environment.
Between 2003 and 2004, Pictet Asset Management Japan succeeded in doubling its assets under management, with the successful introduction of a Biotech strategy and by providing domestic investors access to European bonds.
By 2008, Pictet Asset Management Asia had established itself on firm footing, thanks to its specialist expertise in global emerging equities, Asian equities (ex-Japan), EAFE equities, emerging debt and globally diversified absolute return strategies.
In the same year, the Prix Pictet was launched with the aim of harnessing the power of photography to draw global attention to issues of sustainability, especially those concerning the environment. The Prix Pictet has since become the world’s leading award for photography and sustainability. To date, there have been nine cycles of the award, each of which has highlighted a particular facet of sustainability. The themes so far have been Water, Earth, Growth, Power, Consumption, Disorder, Space, Hope, and Fire.
In 2011 Pictet Asset Management opened its first Taipei office and its second office in Japan, in Osaka. In 2012 the Group was granted a full banking license for its wealth management activities in Hong Kong by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA).
Bolstering investment capabilities and onshore presence
Pictet Asset Management has been investing in China onshore for global clients through several programmes over the past decade, starting with Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) in 2012 and later Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII), Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, as well as Bond Connect.
In 2015 Pictet was one of the first international asset managers to launch a UCITS fund that offered international clients access to the Chinese onshore RMB bond market.
Pictet has also been collaborating with global banks onshore in China under the Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor (QDII) scheme to enable Chinese institutional and high-net-worth individuals to access overseas markets. In July 2020 Pictet Asset Management launched its first northbound fund under the Mutual Recognition of Funds scheme between mainland China and Hong Kong, and it will also harness opportunities from the recently launched Cross-boundary Wealth Management Connect initiative in China’s Greater Bay area, in collaboration with various partners, to offer domestic Chinese investors a wider range of global multi-asset strategies to meet their needs in diversifying their portfolios.
In September 2016 Pictet Asset Management launched Pictet HK-Strategic Income (PSI), a global asset allocation strategy investing primarily in Asia. This was Pictet Asset Management’s first Hong Kong-domiciled fund, enabling Pictet to better serve local investors. It was followed by Asian Bond Income in January 2020, as the Group continued to expand its Hong Kong-domiciled fund product range.
In April 2018, Bank Pictet & Cie (Asia) Ltd received regulatory approval for a wholesale banking license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), underlining the importance of Singapore for the Pictet Group in the Asia-Pacific region.
Ambition 2025: The Rise of Asia
In 2020, as part of its Ambition 2025, Pictet identified the Rise of Asia as one of seven global themes that will have major implications for investors, clients and the financial industry.
Also in 2020, Pictet Asset Management opened an office in Shanghai, Pictet’s 30th office globally, to introduce Pictet’s global investment expertise and offering to domestic investors, who are increasingly receptive to diversifying their investments across markets and asset classes.
In 2021 Pictet Asset Management successfully registered as a Qualified Domestic Limited Partner (QDLP) Manager with the Asset Management Association of China. The QDLP license enables Pictet AM to develop and offer QDLP products to qualified investors in China to invest in the firm’s offshore strategies. Shortly after, the Pictet Special Situation Private Securities Fund No.1 became Pictet Asset Management’s first QDLP product for qualified investors.
The debut of the Prix Pictet in China in 2021 in Shanghai and Beijing provided an excellent platform for engaging with communities in China to promote sustainability, as the country progresses towards its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2060. It is also Pictet’s artistic response to the increasing demand for high-quality international art and cultural exhibitions in China.
2021 marked 35 years of Pictet Wealth Management in Asia, with client relationships and home-grown teams of 25 nationalities now based at the Hong Kong and Singapore hubs. Pictet’s governance, investment leadership and “The Pictet Fortress” business model resonate strongly with ultra-high-net-worth clients and families in Asia.