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The Swiss-based family office of one of Europe’s wealthiest families

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Zurich-based Cambiata Schweiz is believed to be the family office of Michael Schmidt-Ruthenbeck and other members of his family, who are among Germany’s wealthiest. The family office is perhaps one of Switzerland’s more interesting private investment groups – and arguably, one of its most mysterious.

Michael Schmidt-Ruthenbeck along with his brother Reiner Schmidt own around 14% of Metro, the huge German-based diversified retail and wholesale/cash and carry group. Metro makes around €35 billion in sales a year, with net profits of around €1.3 billion. So, the two brothers are making sizable annual dividends from a business that was started by their father and uncle in 1963, although the roots of the family business go back further.

The loyalty of Cambiata Schweiz’s staff, of course, in the world of private investment offices is nothing new, but to have four senior staff serving 10 years and more with the family office is impressive

The link between the Schmidt-Ruthenbeck family, Cambiata Schweiz, and Metro appears to be Peter Küpfer, an ex-Credit Suisse financier, who sits on the board of Metro and Cambiata Schweiz. There is also a Cambiata group based in the British Virgin Islands, which Küpfer sits on the board. And there are three other private investment-type groups, which appear to be linked to the Schmidt-Ruthenbeck family. They are AHRB, Breda Consulting, and Supra Holdings.

Küpfer looks to be the classic consigliere (trusted advisor) for the Schmidt-Ruthenbeck family – he sits on the board and is president of AHRB and Breda, and sits on the board of Zug based Supra Holding.

Also providing a consigliere-type role is Christoph Stieger, who’s CEO of Cambiata Schweiz. Stieger’s been in that position for more than 15 years, and his background comes from the other side of the duopoly in Swiss banking, UBS.

Cambiata Schweiz also employs heads of private equity and hedge funds – both of whom have, like Stieger, been with the family office for more than 10 years. The loyalty of Cambiata Schweiz’s staff, of course, in the world of private investment offices is nothing new, but to have four senior staff serving 10 years and more with the family office is impressive. Beyond their obvious loyalty factor in this, their remuneration might also play a role.

It’s difficult to know what Cambiata has invested in, but linked to the family office, either directly, or indirectly, is ARH Resort Holding, which has connections to a hotel chain called Travel Charme, which is mostly involved in hotels in Germany’s Baltic coast. Not much else is known about their direct investments.

The Schmidt-Ruthenbeck family also own a very active foundation, the German-based Mercator Foundation. It has given out more than €600 million in grants – €77.1 million in 2017 –  since it was founded in 1996.

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