Lombard Odier &
What a frustrating experience dealing with Lombard Odier &
Cie. With $73 billion in assets under management, Lombard Odier
ranks as Switzerland's fourth largest private bank.
The five-story head office near the theatre district of Geneva
is an impressive edifice with its black and gold trim wrought
iron bars decorating the exterior. You do however have to look
closely to make sure you're at the right place because they don't
even put the bank's name outside the entrance-only the initials
"L.O. & Cie" on a discreetly placed small plaque.
Entering the building I'm greeted by three male receptionists
in suits. After explaining who I am and what I do, I'm immediately
escorted into a waiting room and the door closed. Before leaving
the room one of the receptionists connects me with a woman on
the phone. I explain to her what I do and she says she'll check
into it. Well, 20 minutes pass and nothing has happened. I'm
sitting in this stupid (yet very elegantly furnished) room with
the door closed. Have they forgotten about me? There's nothing
in here to read. Another 10 minutes pass and that's it, I can't
sit here any longer. I open the door and tell the three receptionists
I've been waiting half an hour for the woman to call back. A
call is made and it seems they know nothing about my visit so
I leave more background material.
I make a total of three visits over a 10-day period. On the last
visit I talk via the phone from one of those closed-door waiting
rooms to Stephane Tissot, whom I believe is from corporate communications.
She says she's extremely busy for the next week and brushes me
off on the phone.
Well, the reason Lombard Odier & Cie and Darier Hentsch &
Cie have both been brushing me off is because the next day they
will announce plans to merge. How do I learn this? Another private
bank later in the day tells me. Well if this other bank knew
about the merger than it was no big secret. Why couldn't they
have told me? And why is it that ALL five private banks visited
in Geneva said they never received my letter of introduction?
Why did the other companies visited in Geneva receive my letter?
The letters were mailed from Lausanne, less than 35 miles away.
Do they all have sloppy in-house mail service? These private
banks like to brag about offering their high net worth customers
personalized service. Heck, if they can't manage simple mail
correspondence than you kind of wonder about the quality of their