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Ivan Pictet, senior managing partner, Pictet & Cie

  • Story Highlights
  • Ivan Pictet, senior managing partner of Pictet & Cie speaks in The Boardroom
  • Pictet & Cie has been in business 200 years, is one of Switzerland's biggest banks
  • Known for discrete banking, new legislation has changed the bank's operations
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(CNN) -- They've been in the banking business for more than 200 years, Pictet and Company came to prominence when Europe was booming, specializing in personalized, discrete banking services.

Senior managing partner of Swiss bank Pictet & Cie, Ivan Pictet

Senior managing partner of Swiss bank Pictet & Cie, Ivan Pictet talks to CNN's Andrew Stevens.

Since 1980, the company has grown five-fold to be one of the biggest banks in Switzerland. But growth hasn't changed tradition says Ivan Pictet.

CNN's Andrew Stevens met with Ivan in China to talk about leading the banking dynasty into today's tumultuous financial water and what really defines Swiss banking.

Pictet: I think Swiss banking has changed, it still has a very strong position in the world's banking, but it has changed. Banking secrecy has evolved toward the new legislation on money laundering and so on, so confidentiality is not defined the same way today as it would have been, or not protected today as it would have been 25 years ago.

So I think everything is changing but we restrict to some very strong principles, and I think that's very important.

Stevens: We've been talking about the fit with the Swiss with private banking -- the Swiss character, the Swiss style -- last year though, you, for the first time, brought in non-Swiss to be investors, managing directors who can invest in the bank, and I'm wondering, does that in some way dilute your brand as a Swiss bank, now you're bringing non-Swiss in?

Pictet: Pictet has had a profit participation system since 1991. We were probably the pioneer in Europe and probably the world at that time, so we have distributed large part of our profit to our employees at all time.

Today, out of the 3,000 or 2,700 people we have, about 1,400 have a direct participation -- can go from 10 percent to 200 or 300 percent of their salary, so in order for us to keep our best talents, and to stimulate those who would like to join the league, we have created this special group which has a participation, direct participation, in the capital of the bank.

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Stevens: One of the principles you stick to is that you and your seven partners bear personal responsibility for the losses of the bank, your personal wealth is at stake everyday of the year, how does that impact the way you manage the bank?

Pictet: Well it certainly does make us more conservative, in terms of really remaining focused on one business, which is asset management. I mean we never diversify into investment banking or do any commercial activity in terms of banking and so on. We've kept our business very focused and that has helped us also be quite successful. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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