Interview with Elio Barzilay, General Manager
Let’s start with a short description of yourself and your background.
I joined the Mirelis Group in 2011 to participate in the establishment of Mirelis Advisors S.A., our entity dedicated to US investors, which has been renamed to HYPOSWISS ADVISORS SA in March 2017. After having spent a few years in a Swiss private bank focusing on risk management and quantitative aspects of hedge funds, I looked forward to the challenge of moving into a more client-focused position where every trading decision is tailored to the stated objectives of the investor.
On a personal side, I have been happily married we are the proud parents of two children.
Deloitte recently confirmed Switzerland as the world’s leading private wealth management center. Why does Switzerland remain on top despite turbulences?
The recent turbulence comprises short-term issues relating to fiscal and juridical aspects of the business. We should keep in mind that these are peripheral issues compared to the key aspects of the Swiss Financial Center: quality in asset management, excellence of client service and profound knowledge of our individual client needs.
Switzerland has always been a small country differentiating itself by being able to provide optimum solutions for our international clientele using the best global products, whether they involve mutual funds, appropriate currency hedges, real estate exposure, or any other financial product that we are able to tailor to our clients’ specific needs, wants and risk appetites.
As a Swiss wealth manager, why did you decide to register with the SEC in the United States?
Simply because we wanted to maintain our existing relationships with US-based clients that have been with us for 30 or 40 years, given the ever-changing global legal, political and economic landscape!
Additionally, we realized that with the right professional credentials and a strong ethical culture, the requirements of the SEC were easily understandable, implementable and globally recognized.
What particular needs does an American investor have?
Many of our clients like the idea of having diversification across banking and geographical relationships. Also, the access to some markets, currencies and sophisticated products is much more available in Swiss institutions then elsewhere.
How do you address these needs?
We work with over a dozen financial institutions and external consultants that provide us with top-level research. Our job is to select the most effective investment strategies and products and match them to the specific needs of each client.
If you were to give one important piece of advice to American clients, what would it be?
Don’t forget that the world comprises a vast number of economies, currencies and global products that have their own inherent levels of volatility and risk, so it is prudent to diversify among economies, currencies and products and not depend exclusively on US stocks and the US dollar.
Over long time horizons, geographical and currency diversification reduces the risk of portfolios built for the succession of generations.
Choose an investment advisor that has time for conversations with you and never invest in things you don’t understand just because a ‘friend’ recommends it.