Made in Switzerland

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Switzerland is a small land-locked country with around 8 million inhabitants, four official languages and a history as a federal republic dating back less than two centuries. Yet when the World Economic Forum published its annual Global Competitiveness Index earlier this year, Switzerland was in first place for the fifth successive year. In this issue of Pictet Report, we wanted to understand what makes Switzerland so special and how the Swiss ‘brand’ has become synonymous with quality and innovation.

We started by asking Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, how Switzerland had out-stripped much larger countries. We then looked at some of the industries behind Switzerland’s global success, and at the values they embody of excellence, discretion and first-class service. They included Victorinox, manufacturer of the famous Swiss Army Knife, Maxon Motor whose precision motors power the Mars rovers, and Actelion whose biopharmaceutical products treat life threatening diseases.

But Switzerland also stands for watches, chocolates and some landmark hotels. We spoke to François-Paul Journe, who launched his fine watch brand in 1999. We visited Confiserie Sprüngli which began selling delicacies in the heart of Zürich in 1836 and Suvretta House near St Moritz which has provided outstanding service to guests since 1912. And of course there is banking. We asked a leading financial historian how the Swiss banks had evolved to become global leaders in wealth management.

We did not neglect the arts. At this year’s Montreux Jazz Festival, we interviewed Quincy Jones, the legendary African-American musician who has been involved with the festival for decades. We visited the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, home to a remarkable collection of modern and contemporary masterpieces. And in our regular look at philanthropy, we spoke to Mario Testino, the photographer whose recently created foundation celebrates the artistic heritage of his native Peru.

Pictet has grown and prospered in Switzerland by embodying the Swiss values of excellence, discretion, long-term thinking and service. We hope that you will enjoy learning more about the unique characteristics of this small but influential country which has been our home throughout our history.

Philippe Bertherat
Partner, Pictet
December 2013