“My phone only gets used as a phone.”
CEO, SG Value Partners Ltd, Zurich
SG Value Partners is an independent asset manager specializing in deep value equity investments. The experienced investment team is led by Sven Sommer and Gregor Trachsel, who have been successfully managing deep value strategies together since 2003. SG Value Partners is authorized by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA as an asset manager of collective investment schemes and actively advises several equity funds and mandates authorized for sale in Switzerland and nearby countries.
Sven Sommer, what does success mean to you?
For me, success means achieving goals – both small and large – together with my team. Every little day-to-day accomplishment is good for the soul. The prospect of success motivates you to keep pushing your boundaries.
What was the best decision you have taken in your career?
Meeting and finding the right people and working with them systematically and passionately for a common purpose.
Which values underlie your day-to-day actions, decisions, plans?
Decency, discipline, enthusiasm, and common sense.
What are your guiding/leadership principles?
Trust, responsibility, and freedom. It’s important to take responsibility for your own decisions and actions, but people also need the freedom to be creative. That said, I attach a lot of importance to shared visions. Because I believe in success, it makes good sense to define goals.
What are your goals – professionally and personally?
I do strive to achieve goals, but I also want to enjoy what I do. If the journey is as important as the destination, you’ll invest a lot of time in getting where you want to be, and this broadens your scope. I want to retain a certain childlike curiosity, learning and becoming a better person day by day.
What do you enjoy most in your job, what least?
I love the diversity and creativity in my work. I’m a people person, so I always enjoy talking to our existing and prospective clients. I’m less happy, on the other hand, about the endless push for more regulation from our politicians and the authorities, as well as the short-term thinking that’s increasingly prevalent in the financial industry.
How do you achieve that crucial work/life balance?
I always keep moving. When I’m not at work, I can’t sit still. I love being outdoors, and I make time for games – especially all kinds of ball games. They keep me fit. Of course, I also get a lot of exercise with our dog.
What can you not do without?
The exciting, wonderful people I have around me.
What is your favorite travel destination?
The Engadine Valley in Graubünden has to be high up on the list. It’s incredibly beautiful. The peace and quiet, the mountains, the larch forests, the lakes, the light – the combinations and contrasts make it an invigorating place to be. Further afield, I’d have to say Africa, especially the southern part for its sheer vastness. It’s a completely different world.
How often do you look at your mobile phone in a day?
Honestly, only when it vibrates. I don’t actually own a smartphone, something I get teased for rather a lot, so it genuinely only gets used as a phone.
Do you play a musical instrument?
Haha. Not since I subjected my parents and my sister to my total lack of talent on the cello when I was young. It was a valuable lesson for life: focus on your strengths and on doing the things you’re good at.
If you could choose any country, where would you like to live and why?
For me, it can only be Switzerland. It has it all, and it can’t be beaten.