As most of you know, we are in the second generation of leadership at WHVP. We strive to communicate authentically with all our clients, business partners, and prospective clients. With this in mind, we want to present an inside look at who we are as a company and the individuals that make up our team. As an SEC-registered investment adviser in Switzerland working to help Americans bring true diversification to their portfolios, we want to bridge the geographical gap by letting you get to know our team members both professionally and personally. So today, Jess Roberson sat down with our newest team member Nicolò Morra, our Summer Intern, to get to know about him, his life goals, and what he hopes to glean from the time he will be spending with us.
Jess: Before we dive into the interview, tell us a little about yourself in terms of who you are and what led you to look for an internship with a WHVP.
Nicolò: I am currently doing a gap year. I graduated last year from the finance high school "Kantonsschule Hottingen" in Zurich. I gained much experience during my gap year and have grown through it. For example, I worked as a waiter at different luxury hotels in Zurich, a bartender, promoter, cashier, and courier, and in a robotic start-up that aims to secure large outdoor facilities and company buildings. During my time in high school, my friends and I founded a pasta start-up called Mandorla. We were super successful with it. We were the best start-up in the canton of Zurich and came among the top 10 start-ups in Switzerland in the "Yes Company Programme."
My task was accounting and social media. I enjoyed what I did there in creating a business plan, balance sheets, and financial statements. During this time is when I started to invest my own money. Since then, I have started reading many financial newspapers to better understand how the modern world of finance works. In September, I will begin to study Business Administration at the University of Zurich. My goal in the last stretch of my gap year is to gain some experience in the financial sector, which is why I’m here. WHVP has been an established asset manager for decades. Because of this, I want to understand how they work with U.S. customers, as it is unique for me growing up in Switzerland. I always had questions in my head that I knew could only be answered by professionals. How do they decide which stock goes in which portfolio, and how do they develop different strategies for different customers? How do you communicate with customers to build trust and a long-term, successful relationship? And, of course, what kind of work goes on in the background to ensure client privacy is upheld to the highest standard? Because of the small team at WHVP, everything is more familiar, and it’s easier to get an inside view from each team member in making the company function efficiently.
Thank you for telling us a bit more about yourself and what led you to apply for your internship with us. I am curious to know what aspects of asset management interest you, and do you have any past experience in the financial industry?
Analyzing stocks, talking to customers, and creating different investment strategies fascinate me. Here at WHVP, I learn how professionals analyze stocks and how they build different investment strategies. I’m so happy that WHVP gave me this internship. Already after a few days, I learned quite a lot. I haven`t had any financial industry experience yet, but in high school, I learned the basics of finance and law. I talk with my father about the economy. Mostly we talk about how we should invest our money, or if I have a question about a topic, he will explain it to me. For example, how Swiss Airlines got bankrupt or what Credit Suisse did when they had to sell their bank. He is my role model because of his huge experience of over 35 years in the finance industry. Furthermore, I’m happy to already know about personal finance. I have to thank my dad, who educated me over the years.
That is cool to see you have been learning and getting some experience with us. How do you believe asset management work aligns with your long-term career goals?
My goal is to be an asset manager. I am a person that needs a variety of tasks at work to be productive. As an asset manager, you have different topics and responsibilities to work on daily. The most important issues are customer relationships, investment research, execution, and administrative work. Now and then, you talk with your customers about the portfolio performance and the future.
Furthermore, you have to talk to different people and create communication strategies so that more people will learn about your service. You spent hours every week researching new possible stock investments. Furthermore, you must execute your trades and do all the compliance paperwork for those trades. So, there are always different things to do, and it never gets boring, which is super important for me.
What steps have you taken to educate yourself about asset management and stay updated on industry trends and developments?
I read many finance books and newspapers and listen to podcasts about the asset management industry. At the moment, I am reading the book called "Financial Cold War: A View of Sino-US Relations from the Financial Markets." The book discusses the rising tensions between the United States and China and their impact on the financial markets. It talks as well about the rise of the dollar and other topics. I am enjoying the book because it talks about financial subjects and political issues, giving a good overview of the economic war. At the moment, I listen to two podcasts. They are called the Master of Scale and Finanzfluss Podcast. It is a platform that provides entrepreneurial learning and education. They invite CEOs such as Mark Zuckerberg or Brian Chesky, founder of Airbnb, and talk about their way to success and the struggles and challenges they faced with their start-ups.
To end the interview, what are the three reasons you get out of bed in the morning?
Learning new things captivates me. Because of this, I get up to either go to work or educate myself by listening to podcasts, documentaries or reading books. My second reason is that I am an open person who likes to meet friends or my girlfriend and talk about life and the world. For example, we talk about politics, economics, or even sports on occasion. Politics is often the topic of choice, as here in Switzerland, we are able to vote every three months about different political issues, such as climate law and innovation. In my family, we discuss the different subjects before every vo. My final reason is to achieve my dream of being an asset manager like Jamie, Urs, and Julia here at WHVP. At the moment, I am at the starting line, where I get to learn new things each day. There are still years of work and learning ahead of me before I achieve this dream, but it motivates me every day.
*end of the interview
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