Mirabaud Becomes Latest Swiss House To Change Unlimited Liability Model

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, London, 2 July 2013


Geneva-headquartered private banking and investment house
Mirabaud Group has launched a Luxembourg bank and transformed its Mirabaud
& Cie entity into a limited company. The move carries echoes of moves in February this year by Pictet and Lombard Odier to abandon the old unlimited
liability model.

The ownership as well as the group’s management will remain
in the hands of the current managing partners, Mirabaud said in a statement
yesterday. Meanwhile, the new bank in Luxembourg,
with an opening also scheduled for early 2014, will develop the private banking
activities of the group in Europe, and will head these activities in the UK, in France
and in Spain.

Within the new partnership limited by shares, Mirabaud &
Cie SCA, the managing partners set global strategy and objectives of all group entities.
The managing partners will bear unlimited personal liability for the
partnership limited by shares. The latter will be the parent company of all group
entities in Switzerland
and abroad, including the Swiss bank Mirabaud & Cie that - subject to regulatory
clearance - will become a limited company.

Mirabaud & Cie, which was founded in 1819 shortly after
the end of the Napoleonic War, is taking a move to scrap unlimited liability
that is similar to actions made by Pictet and Lombard Odier earlier in 2013.
(To view an article about those developments, click here.) It suggests that the
old Swiss banking model, while appealing to those valuing the conservatism and
innate caution that comes with unlimited liability, is also a headache for
firms seeking to expand outside a home market.

“Our desire to grow in Switzerland and abroad within our
three business lines, as well as increasing regulatory constraints and
requirements, have incited us to modify our structures and evolve towards a
more formal governance and executive management, better aligned with the
current environment,” Yves Mirabaud, senior partner, said.

“The structure of a limited company is currently the most
widespread and the best understood model by our clients, the public and the
authorities,” he said.

The partnership limited by shares will remain under the
control of the six managing partners, “thus preserving the spirit of
partnership prevailing at Mirabaud and maintaining the traditional values of
its business model, such as independence, continuity, family ownership, the
long term vision and the strong personal commitment of its managing partners”,
the firm’s statement said.

Three entities

The three business lines, currently functionally organised,
will run within distinct legal entities.

“There will be no impact on the services provided, the
Group’s commercial structure or its personnel. The entities dedicated to asset
management will remain under the authority of Lionel Aeschlimann, managing partner,
and the intermediation activities will continue to be run by Giles Morland,
managing partner,” he said.

The conversion of Banque Mirabaud & Cie, an unlimited
partnership, into Banque Mirabaud & Cie will take effect in early 2014
and the management team of the latter will continue to be led by Antonio Palma,
managing partner.

Mirabaud Group has offices in Switzerland
(Geneva, Basel
and Zurich), Western Europe – London,
Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia
and Luxembourg) and in the
rest of the world (Montreal, Hong Kong and Dubai).


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