Dear Partners and friends,
My name is Bernard, the father of SCC co-founder Philippe. "Caring about Families and Businesses for Generations" : this is SCC's motto and has been mine for my entire private banking career. Let me introduce my story to you.
I was born in Bern, capital of Switzerland and grew up in a warm Swiss family. My father originally came from Basel, the home of many Swiss jewels such as Roger Federer, and my mother from the Italian part of Switzerland. At the end of the Second World War and after having served our country in the army protecting the borders in the Alps, my father's aim was to start a family.
Money was still scarce however in a difficult economic environment after the War. Whatever money left he got, his priority always was to spend on his kids' education, an education he felt could propel his boys into the next level.
Following these early lessons, my focus was always to send Philippe and Laurent to the best school. I wanted to give them the best education, as my father did for me. I also wanted to teach them that money has to be respected.
A gene that probably was passed on is the family values. My childhood holidays were simple but I remember as it was yesterday when we went camping in South of France or in a small Chalet in the Alps. I keep a strong mark and memories of these cherished family moments. Having been married for 44 years to my wife, we try, even today to influence family values to Philippe and Laurent and now to their own families.
After my studies I was eager to earn a living and I started working at UBS. I could outwork most of my colleagues due to my hardwork. One occasion exemplifies this: I remember on September 1st, 1977, I had to pass my final exams of an important diploma at UBS. Philippe was about to come to life and my wife was at the hospital. I was a bit stressed and Philippe came exactly when I had my exam. After I finished, I called my wife only to hear the baby's first cry on the phone.
Earlier in my career I noticed something particular was going on. Remember the first Oil Shock in 1973? Money started to flow from the Middle East and Switzerland was, as always a safe haven for rich people. I was one of the most promising young men, so I pushed hard to work on the Private Banking desk at UBS, servicing Middle Eastern clients.
I remember travelling a lot and did all I could to meet these clients. Learning the culture, accepting their differences and appreciating their values. These were unchartered territories and I felt like the only Swiss in these lands where all was to be done. I started to build a network of friends and business partners.
At the beginning of the 1980's, just as probably now a bit in China, Banks in Switzerland did not offer real family offices services. It was private banking, yes, but wealth management englobing family planning, generations issues, managing the risks, tailor made and personal services, all this was rather inexistent. That is how with my manager, in 1983 we became partner and created Suntrust Investment Co, starting the two of us and one assistant and grew the business to one of the most important business in Geneva in that field. The business of independent or external asset managers became so influential that Suntrust co-founded the Swiss Association of independent wealth managers in Switzerland. Today, there are more than 1000 firms in that Association.
During all my life as a private banker, I always stayed true to the basic principles which are, I believe, the basis for success in private banking: the trust can only be built through consistent and professional management of client’ s wealth and family as if they were your own.
That means a close relationship with our clients, great availability and a constant ability to adapt to any changes.
I am convinced that SCC, with their experienced advisors and successful bankers and partners, will keep on working towards these essential values that are the key to succeed in private banking and family office services, a concept that has made its proof for decades. I believe SCC, between Switzerland and China, is in the best position to succeed.
I am and will always be available. All the very best to SCC in 2017 and beyond.