The Partners of the Pictet Group
Pictet is a partnership of eight owner-managers responsible for the entire activity of the Group. Our principles of succession and transmission of ownership have remained unchanged since foundation in 1805.
Over the past 217 years there have been only 45 partners, each with an average tenure of over 21 years. Because the terms of the partners overlap, the knowledge, experience and values of each generation are absorbed and passed on without interruption. With the ninth generation of the Pictet family still active in the partnership, our structure ensures that we remain committed to maintaining the financial strength and solidity of the Group.
Evolution not revolution
The virtue of Pictet’s partnership since the beginning is the overlapping tenure of the partners and their collective management principles. It means the business does not suffer radical changes in direction: fresh ideas, yes, but evolution not revolution.
The nature of our partnership
Our partners’ morning Salon is like an orchestra tuning up before the performance. At the end of the meeting, the partners leave the room fully aligned for the day ahead. It sounds like a picture of harmony and concord. But it’s not so easy to reach decisions with eight independent minds around the table, and when the Senior Partner is, by tradition, primus inter pares.
That explains why the partners meet not once a week, or once a month — we can leave that for a board of directors with a CEO — but three times a week. Because each new proposal needs to be weighed, considered, tested, slept on, until a broad consensus is achieved. And even then, a strategy may be refined as it develops. It may seem like a recipe for indecision. Yet in business, too many decisions are taken in haste and regretted at leisure. A strategy that has been fully examined is much more likely to be — to use the former hedge fund manager and philosopher Nicholas Nassim Taleb’s term — ‘antifragile’ than the capricious actions of a CEO at the mercy of a vote by distant or disengaged shareholders.
This business model may seem to lead to a less pressurised working environment. That’s not exactly so; it’s just that when the average tenure of a partner is of over twenty-one years, the pressure is long term, rather than short term. And that kind of future-oriented thinking extends throughout Pictet. It explains the value we attach to long-term thinking both in our relationships with clients and in business strategy; it promotes our sense of responsibility towards clients, colleagues and communities; it safeguards our independence of mind and action; and it feeds our entrepreneurial spirit.
A case study on Pictet’s partnership model
“Pictet’s partnership model seems to have found a way to exploit the advantages of family-type structures to the maximum, while at the same time reducing the associated risks to the minimum.”
— Torsten Groth, Fritz B. Simon, Witten Institute
The Witten Institute for Family Business, the first research institute in Germany to specialise in family businesses, has published a case study on Pictet first in 2005, and updated most recently in November 2019.