In 2006 we (Trevor Pavitt and Alexandre Arnbäck) founded Lyra. We had both been working 20 and 8 years respectively with top tier wealth managing firms and had become successful private bankers with promising careers. However, our success came at a price. Well, actually two: Clients’ interests were always second after the bank’s and our work was often in direct conflict with our values.
When we met, and shared our experiences, we both realised that we needed to rebel against the practices of the private banking system. We decided to try out a healthier model - something transparent, without hidden fees and the with clients' needs as the primary driver. We envisionned a model where the only income was the one billed to the client, thus leaving us truly independent and devoted to our customer.
It was a bumpy road. We encountered significant resistance from banks still refusing to work in a fee-transparent way, and colleagues criticizing and doubting our approach
In 2008, we were joined by a 3rd partner Sarah Genequand. Sarah worked as a trust officer for Citibank, and then Barclays where she met Trevor. Fiduciary duty is at the heart of a trustee’s work ethics. Sarah, like us, felt she could not deliver a result in line with her values as long as she worked in a commission based environment. She decided to jump ship and join Lyra.
Then came the 2008 financial crisis. That's when the general population realised that financial corporations’ huge gains were often generated on the backs of everyday investors. Major public losses, opaque abuses, and bankruptcies such as Madoff, Lehman and sub-primes came to light. We were inspired to spread the word of finance for common good through a book. “Heal your investments: A story your banker would never tell you” is a non-profit venture written in French (2011) and translated into 5 languages. The project enjoyed support from many reputed leaders such as Klaus Schwab (World Economic Forum), Burton Malkiel (Princeton University), Stephane Garelli (IMD) and Antonio Delfim Netto (former Brazilian Minister of Finance).
The adventure started over 10 years ago and not a week passes without reminding us that we made the right choice. It is possible to do right by your clients, staying at the forefront of excellence/science, and remain true to our values. This, we believe is what financial advice should be!