PROFESSIONALS WITH entrepreneurial flair who are keen to progress their financial services career should keep an eye on developments at Pictet (Asia), the Asian arm of Geneva-based Pictet & Cie. Pictet, founded in Switzerland in 1805, began as a private bank but now has four lines of business in its worldwide operations: private banking, global custody, asset management and fund distribution. Amy Cho, managing director and regional head of business development Asia-Pacific, for Pictet (Asia), said all four streams of the organisation's operations in Asia were 'pretty balanced', but having started in private banking, the company had the longest experience in this field, and wealth management was consequently a core aspect of its Asian operations. Ms Cho said Pictet as a group managed combined assets, including assets it held as a global custodian, of close to US$270 billion, with funds under management amounting to US$86.54 billion. The company employs 2,300 people in 17 locations concentrated in the capital cities of Europe. In Asia it has offices in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore, while in the Middle East it has an office in Dubai, and in North America an office in Montreal. 'In Hong Kong we have about 10 employees taking care of private banking clients, asset management and fund distribution. We concentrated on asset management for the past 20 years, but this year we started a team to develop the fund business, which we will be expanding,' she said. Entrepreneurial skills will be in demand as Pictet expands. 'We are developing a new business in Asia leveraging on expertise and credentials we have in Europe. We would be looking for people with more of an entrepreneurial culture and style,' Ms Cho said. 'We need people with high momentum and dynamics. Someone who could slip into the culture and focus on Pictet where we have a strong focus on client relationships.' In this regard, personal qualities were as important as paper qualifications, Ms Cho added. 'Because we are a start-up in expansion mode, the qualification we need would focus on experience in the industry working for other companies or institutions and [people] who, therefore, understand the business and the basic products.' Pictet will not consider taking on fresh graduates in its Asian office, though it does hire graduates as trainees in Europe. 'We are not considering this in the near term in Asia but, of course, in the future we will include graduate trainees,' Ms Cho said.