Georgios Tsevas is currently working as Vice President, Senior Relationship Manager within the Wealth Management Department of BCP Banque de Commerce et de Placements’ Headquarters in Geneva (BCP is a Swiss bank established in 1963). Mr Tsevas has international experience of more than 21 years in the private banking and asset management industry, working in various senior positions at EFG Group (Athens, Luxembourg), National Bank Greece (Piraeus) and BCP (Luxembourg, Geneva), providing financial services to a large network of High Net Worth and Ultra High Net Worth Clients. Mr Tsevas holds M.Sc. in Finance from University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, UK), B.Sc. in Statistics and Insurance Science from University of Piraeus (Greece) and has successfully completed the Executive Education program in Behavioural Economics and Modern Economy at LSE (London) as well as the Fintech Specialisation at CFTE (London).
What made you want to pursue a career in the financial industry? and what do you find more attractive about working in wealth management?
Since my childhood I have been always fascinated by the financial industry as my uncle and godfather was a banker. During my university years of studying Statistics in Greece, I started taking optional Business and Finance courses which increased my appetite for further improvement of my academic knowledge in global economy and financial markets. As a result, I decided to study Finance in UK and after receiving my Master’s degree I was sure that I had made the right choice. I started my career as an Analyst / Assistant Portfolio Manager for the Proprietary Equity Trading Portfolio of a Greek Bank and after having spent 5 years in various asset management positions, I started my journey in the world of wealth management. Here I discovered that both my personality skills as well as my previous asset management experience had equipped me with the necessary expertise in order to start a successful career in this specific field.
The building of trust with your clients by understanding their exact needs and providing an excellent banking service to them, brings lots of excitement in your daily professional life as a Private Banker that you can strongly feel as the relationship grows. Moreover, I love the fact that every working day is different, challenging sometimes but also very rewarding. By gaining experience, you also develop a good broad knowledge of the Bank and its operations that you can put at your clients’ best interests. You are the “ambassador” of the Bank and the good reputation of a financial institution is highly dependent on the quality of the service provided to your clients.
How does a normal day look like as a Senior Relationship Manager at the Wealth Management Department of BCP Banque de Commerce et de Placements?
Providing an exceptional service to your clients demands good preparation. I usually start my day by reviewing the global financial news and monitoring my clients’ portfolios in collaboration with my colleagues from the asset management team, in order to define potential portfolio management changes. Depending on the respective market conditions, investment opportunities may arise and should be communicated to the clients under advisory mandates in a timely manner. “Managing my clients’ expectations by providing a satisfactory portfolio performance is always on my mind.”
Apart from emails with financial market news or investment suggestions sent to clients, I always call them directly in order to discuss and explain everything in great detail as “trust is built on clear understanding”. As said before, every day can be different from the previous one and can be very demanding too, depending on the deadlines of several projects that are running simultaneously. Consequently, apart from responding to clients’ requests such as order executions or providing financing solutions to their needs, I am also highly focused on the implementation of all the respective Swiss regulatory requirements and internal policies that are changing rapidly.
What is in your view the most important part of wealth management and advisory?
The most important part of wealth management and advisory is to “Know well your Client”. When it comes to investment advisory that concerns his Knowledge and Experience in Financial Investments, his Risk Bearing Ability and his Investment Objectives. Having a good knowledge will allow you to advise your clients efficiently. It is worthwhile to spend time at the beginning in this assessment if you want to build strong long-lasting relationships. However, knowing well you client goes beyond investment advisory.
Each client has his own personality, his own biases and he is at a different stage of his life. The talent of the Private Banker lies in understanding the specific conditions of each client and try to address his needs in an efficient way. However, a good Private Banker must also be able to disagree with a client when he feels that his choices are unwise and against their best interest. After all, a happy client will always introduce his Banker to another potential client from his network. Your good reputation and development as a Private Banker depend on keeping your clients satisfied.
Have you seen a change of the profiles of your clients? Would you say there has been a generational change in wealth?
I would say that a change in a profile of a client is a natural consequence of many parameters concerning his business activity, family status etc. You can have a business owner or a corporate executive for example that reaches his level of retirement. This development can have an important effect in the interaction with his Banker as the client may start to actively follow financial markets and require a more frequent communication.
Additionally, a client may decide to add his children on the account and consequently the Banker will need to establish relationships with them. These are cases that normally occur during the lifetime of a bank account. A generational change of wealth is something which is happening and I can clearly see the evolution of Millennials who are clients demanding a more digitalized approach in their banking operations as well as preferring more sophisticated financial products.
What are your clients requesting at the moment? And what would you advise in the current situation of the markets?
The financial community is primarily looking to protect their investments against geopolitical risks and stagflation. Are Central Banks hawkish policy going to impact negatively bond investments and equity markets? That remains to be seen.
In order to avoid a further decline in bond portfolios, investors will have to focus on floating rate bonds. If possible accumulate non-investment grade securities adding a credit spread to the floating feature.
On the equity side, investors seem to discover the quality of value stocks (= cheap relative valuation, defensive business model, strong pricing power).
On short term basis, we prefer a selection of short-duration higher yielding emerging market bonds and fresh-momentum equity names in various sectors.
Which sectors and geographical areas do you think are particularly interesting at the moment?
The most value-oriented sectors are: Healthcare, consumer staples, utilities, telecom services and financials.
In terms of regional approach, the European equity markets are penalized by the rising risk premium resulting from the Ukrainian crisis and valuation discount will probably going to increase in the long run as peace and globalization dividend are going to decline more significantly in Europe than in the USA or in Japan.
On short term basis, Latin America and Turkey are the most interesting regions within the Emerging Market Fixed Income space. Our main equity momentum sectoral preferences are energy, health care, utilities, materials, consumer staples in US and Europe. We are also tactically bullish on Emerging market equities while only exposed via funds.
How would you define yourself in 3 words?
Ethical, service-oriented, proactive.