The PAM 50 Most Influential is an annual list of those at the forefront of shaping private client wealth management in the UK and Crown Dependencies.
Today we speak to Etienne d'Arenberg, partner and head of wealth management UK at Mirabaud.
Mr d'Arenberg joined Mirabaud in 1999 and successfully developed a CHF 2.5 billion+ portfolio of clients serving wealthy families.
He now oversees Mirabaud’s long-term strategy in the UK, while also sitting on the board of his own single-family office and the boards of several UK and Swiss charities. He is fluent in French, English, German and Italian and can speak conversational Spanish and Dutch.
What team or personal achievement over the past year are you most proud of?
One of the greatest challenges when you have built your own portfolio of clients is to move away from operations you know inside out to a bit more strategic thinking on the one hand, and empowering your own team on the other.
I feel very proud to work with (and now for!) amazing and younger people who have the confidence to challenge me. The world is profoundly changing, and it is so important to base your opinion on different perspectives and the outlook of people from another generation.
The implication of Covid-19 on mental health has been huge, for both the old and young generation: I am particularly proud of the way my bank has been dealing with the crisis, both as a group and as individuals, supporting each other. A true family.
What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Be humble, be hungry and never feel entitled.
What most excites or interests you about the wealth management industry right now?
I believe that the current crisis will have profound implication on the way we do business, with a growing interest both in burgeoning industries – think tech/biotech/aggrotech – and in sustainable business practices.
I feel that we are entering a new area where companies which lag behind on social responsibility will likely find themselves increasingly alienated from a new generation of customers and employees.
Over the past year people lost loved ones, came close to death, which revived the need for caring relationships, good news for a way of business that has always been dear to my heart. Ultimately our job is to care for others.
Who do you look up to for inspiration or mentorship?
Definitely my mother, who went through the horrors of WWII concentration camps as a child but still manages to be the immensely positive, graceful and elegant person I know. It teaches me perspective and reminds me that it is not the end of the world if things don’t go as expected.
My wife is certainly also in the pantheon of people I admire for who she is, but also for her great professional achievements.
If you couldn’t work in wealth management/private banking, what other career appeals?
I would be an art dealer…with the risk of buying a lot of paintings but never selling them! Or perhaps being a professional dressage rider, but don’t think I ever had the talent nor the steely discipline needed for it!
What luxury item would you want with you on a desert island?
Definitely a portable wine cellar. One never knows…
What was your student job?
I had several! Teaching German language, waiting tables, working in gardens, working in a stable as a stable boy. I learnt about mood changes and unpredictability, you never know what happens in a horse’s head!
What’s a valued hobby or interest outside work and how did you get into it?
I have also many interests outside work, more traditional ones such as cultural endeavours/history/museums, horses (!), a great love of music and ballet but I guess above all I am an outdoors kind of person, so I love ski touring and mountain walks.
Confinement allowed me to lose some weight, as I did not travel or go to restaurant anymore and given my girth, I was rather encouraged to enjoy my wife’s quinoa and avocado salads.