A company is only as good as its employees. In this column, we present talented members of the swisspartners team.
Bernhard Schürmann describes himself with a quote attributed to Confucius: “To get to the source, you need to swim against the current.” Having been with swisspartners for 25 years, he is one of the longest-standing members of the team. As well as being an expert in asset management, Bernhard has always had a great interest in the arts and culture.
He began his education with a commercial apprenticeship at Union Bank of Switzerland in Lucerne. Subsequently, he completed his secondary schooling at the Cantonal school of Lucerne. To finance his studies at the University of Zurich, he taught part-time at a commercial school in Lucerne – characterwise a major challenge for him, as he says today.
After completing his studies, he took his first steps in asset management at Privatbank und Verwaltungsgesellschaft in Zurich (a part of the Schmidheiny Group) and spent a year in New York for training and further education. The Schmidheiny family was very fond of art and he had the privilege of being present when Alexander Schmidheiny built up his large collection of works by American pop artists.
Later, Bernhard was appointed Director of the group’s publicly listed Allgemeine Finanzgesellschaft. Then followed ten years at Cantrade Privatbank as a relationship manager and curator of the bank’s art collection. Finally, he joined swisspartners, together with some of his colleagues from Cantrade Privatbank. In advising clients, Bernhard has always believed the saying “If the client is happy, then the relationship manager is happy,” pointing out that happiness is the only thing that doubles when you share it.
The network that I have built up over the years. I might be a bit of an individualist, but I have always enjoyed networking. I was on the Board of Directors of Private Equity Holding for a number of years. That gave me the opportunity to forge contacts with interesting people and companies from fields such as medicine and engineering. I also look after a number of clients from the arts and culture sector, which lets me combine my hobby with my profession.
The fact that I have been able to retain almost all of my clients over the last 25 years. I’m not a one-size-fits-all relationship manager and have always looked after clients and their portfolios personally. Client service in my mind encompasses comprehensive support for all situations and problems.
I appreciate beautiful things and I especially love collecting art. But I have never fallen for the mainstream. I own works of art from classical modernism, Swiss art, as well as works by internationally renowned artists (including China). One of my best friends, a major collector of Chinese art, is a constant source of inspiration for me. I have never sold any of the works in my collection. For me, art is not a financial investment, but is something close to my heart.
My family, sports and culture. I work out once a week with a personal yoga instructor and play tennis (doubles only nowadays) as well as golf. Aside from that, I am passionately involved in a cultural foundation and sit on the advisory board of an international art collection.
Both areas need serious, competent analysis and advice. Because no one person can do everything and know everything themselves, good contacts and networks are indispensable.
Interview by Simone Töllner.
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