Mirabaud celebrates 30 years in Montréal

Mirabaud opened its first international office in Montreal 30 years ago. The group took its first step outside of Switzerland at a time when trade was starting to become more international and the term "globalisation" was coined.

Three decades on, and the world is a vastly different place. MirMag met with Georges Paulez, Managing Director of Mirabaud Canada, to discuss his views on how the group's first international office has evolved.

The 80s marked a major turning point in the global economy, paving the way for a boom in trade. This period also coincided with growing interest in geographic diversification from clients who wanted to have a bigger weighting to international markets in their portfolios. It was therefore the perfect time for the Group to begin its expansion overseas. Today, Mirabaud has 14 offices spread over Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia in top business locations such as Montreal, Madrid, Geneva, London and Hong Kong.

"There were several reasons why we opted to open a branch in Montreal," says Georges Paulez. "First and foremost, the city has a lot in common with Geneva, the Group's headquarters, including French as a business language, highly qualified employees, a stable political and legal landscape and a robust economy. Furthermore, this took place at a time when the government of Quebec was trying to attract top financial institutions. Of course, setting up an office in Montreal also allowed us to respond to our clients' changing needs and tap into the lucrative North American market. "

Steady growth

Our story began in 1985, when Mirabaud sent two employees to Montreal to set up a company structure. The branch welcomed its first customers just one year later. Thirty years on, and the Montreal branch continues to meet our clients' needs. It has grown at a steady pace, with the branch now employing 29 professionals.

The initial aim was to harness the Group's expertise in hedge funds, since Mirabaud was one of the first hedge fund managers having entered the business in the early 70s. This has paid off, as the hedge fund business is now one of the main drivers behind the company's growth and success in Canada. Not only has this strategy enabled international clients to expand the geographic diversification of their portfolios, it has also grown the assets of local clients.

“ The Montreal office plays a major role in Mirabaud's international network.”

Georges Paulez, Managing Director of Mirabaud Canada

"The Montreal office plays a major role in Mirabaud's international network," comments Georges Paulez. We operate across six different time zones, which ensures business continuity – this gives us a competitive edge and is appreciated by all of our clients. Further, by managing our own network of contacts, we can work independently while still sharing the Group's IT infrastructure and research. Another advantage is that we do not focus solely on North America, unlike many of our peers. This allows us to offer global investment solutions that are both tailored and cost effective. Clients therefore benefit from privileged and competitive access to global markets."

Georges Paulez's career at Mirabaud spans 17 years, leading the Montreal team since 1999, and, in the course of his activities, supervising the team in Dubai in 2011. He has now taken it upon himself to organise Mirabaud's 30th anniversary in Canada. Celebrations will of course include internal events, as well as a guest of honor who will meet with clients, employees and partners.

"Anniversaries such as these should always be celebrated. Every year that passes is a testament to our strength," beams Georges Paulez. "When commemorating this important milestone, we wish to highlight three important aspects: our international operations, our entrepreneurial spirit, and our Swiss/Geneva roots. This is why we turned to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and its President Peter Maurer – an institution that embodies these very same principles. It has similar values to Mirabaud in that carries out it duties with a strong sense of leadership, even in difficult circumstances. We feel it is important to reflect on the more global issues of our time, such as ensuring stability of countries and economies. The impact of the ICRC's national structure can also be felt in Canada, especially its response to the devastating wildfires in Fort McMurray. No other organisation has the same high level of expertise, capacity and independence. "

Georges Paulez, Managing Director of Mirabaud Canada, and Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross

Old continent, new world

Canada is an open country with one of the highest levels of cultural integration in the world. The country differs from Switzerland in multiple ways, including its size and high degree of decentralisation. Nevertheless, the two countries share many similarities – both are federal states organised in similar ways. When it comes to prejudices and the linguistic differences between French spoken in Switzerland and Quebec, nothing seems to get in the way of business, according to Georges Paulez.

"Although we often use different words, my Swiss colleagues and I always understand one another. For example, we rarely call asset managers ‘gérant’; we more often say ‘gestionnaire’ or ‘courtier’ for someone who makes investment decisions. Difficulties with respect to management and proposing changes is usually due to the different regulatory landscape in each country. Ultimately, though, we always find solutions that are in our clients' best interests."

Our office in Montréal

Montréal was Mirabaud's first international office, opened in 1985. It provides management services for private and institutional clients as well as bespoke financial services.

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