By Lionel Aeschlimann – Managing Partner, Mirabaud Group
Mirabaud is an international banking and finance group that provides a clientele of private and institutional investors, companies and finance professionals with highly customised investment, private banking and asset management services.
Founded in 1819, and today led by the seventh generation of entrepreneurs, it has gradually become the third largest private bank in Geneva, with offices elsewhere in Switzerland as well as the UK, France, Spain, Luxembourg, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Brazil and Uruguay.
So, what is the connection between the core business – which focuses on investment and is based on research and analysis as well as many rational and quantitative elements – its corporate culture and art, which responds to more emotional imperatives?
As experts in their field, Mirabaud has distinctive perspectives to explain financial reality. But it also seeks out challenging points of view.
When Mirabaud’s collection of contemporary art was started many years ago, one of its objectives was to hold a mirror to our processes of discussion and decision-making and challenge the company to continue to think beyond convention.
Instead of entrusting the task to an art committee or a renowned commissioner, Mirabaud decided to build the collection itself, because they wanted it to be an authentic reflection of their vision/institution. And they did it with the sense of freedom.
Mirabaud’s corporate values — Independence, Conviction, Responsibility and Passion — shape every aspect of the Group. They are at the very core of the brand and define the corporate culture. As such, they act as the moral compass of the Group and, naturally, inspired it in creating its collection of contemporary art.
Independence is not only Mirabaud’s master value, it is above all a privilege. As a family-owned business with over 200 years of history, Mirabaud maintains a long-term perspective in all its activities; as entrepreneurs, thinking in terms of years, rather than quarters.
Mirabaud is not listed on a stock exchange and does not have third-party shareholders. Hence, its decisions are solely based on the Group’s long-term interests. It only pursues objectives that are fully aligned with its clients’ current and evolving needs.
When you look at Mirabaud’s collection of contemporary art, it is obvious that it does not follow rigid rules or directives, but rather that it is guided by the freedom afforded by instinct, feeling and emotion. That is why it is so passionate and occasionally provocative.
By showcasing well established talents (Not Vital (Moon, 2015, top of page), Marina Abramovic, Thomas Ruff) alongside artists of tomorrow (Omar Ba, Antoine Roegiers, Fabian Marti), Mirabaud chose to foster dialogue between different generations, artistic movements and interests. Similarly, the Partners running the business represent different age groups but with complementary backgrounds and experiences, a mix that ensures that proposals are vigorously discussed and even challenged before they become final. Indeed, this is also how decisions are taken in Mirabaud’s various internal committees, including on CSR.
As a banking and financial group, managing the wealth of its clients and taking important decisions that may have economic consequences, Mirabaud must have strong convictions coupled with abundant humility. The company’s major conviction is that human talent can make a difference – from the way it serves its clients to the way it runs its business as entrepreneurs. And constantly adapting to new paradigms is key. Even if today’s decision seems to be right, the future may decide otherwise. Nimbleness and adaptability are essential.
Mirabaud’s art collection makes a real contribution by helping create an environment in which its experts can fully express their talents and convictions, ultimately allowing them to deliver value for clients. Contemporary art invites a questioning mindset, a quality that is crucial for a company that is Prepared for now, as its tagline says. Across all business lines and all levels of the group, every opinion counts and Mirabaud values personal initiatives.
As entrepreneurs, it can seem at first sight that we enjoy quite a lot of freedom; but in reality this means that we are also responsible and accountable for everything we decide and undertake: towards clients, employees and society in general. In other words, we have a collective and social responsibility. And, indeed, by building an art collection, Mirabaud supports artists individually and, by encouraging artistic production, diversity and inclusion, to society more broadly. This approach is directly guided by the company’s corporate social responsibility.
In return, being surrounded by remarkable works of art inspires the company in its daily work and pushes it to surpass itself.
Following efforts across the three divisions Wealth Management, Asset Management and Securities – and at all levels of the company, Mirabuad has recently stepped up its commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Evidence of the company’s achievements in this area is that it has earned the highest possible rating – an A+ – in all sectors of the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).
At Mirabaud, passion brings motivation and dedication together to produce excellence. This passion extends to the company’s interaction with clients, as well as to the way it faces challenges on their behalf. Mirabaud’s art collection is clearly driven by emotion and built with passion.
Exploring a piece of art, along with the perspectives of its artist and the context in which it was created, challenges us to look at our world in a new way, from a different perspective. It opens our minds and, perhaps more importantly, our hearts.
The Mirabaud art collection enriches the company thanks to the values and emotions it conveys; and that, through a ripple effect, it also benefits clients and business partners. At the very least, it makes us a little bit more curious and more open to the world.