Michael Salsbury has returned to his European private banking and wealth management roots as the founder of a boutique wealth management firm based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Most recently, Salsbury was the founder, president and CEO of American Riviera Bank, one of California’s most successful new banks that Salsbury initially conceived of to deliver the service of European private banking to all of the bank’s clients.

His new venture, Geneva Private Wealth Advisors S.A., will focus on ultra high net worth clients primarily in Europe and the Middle East. Salsbury, the founding partner, will serve as the new company’s chairman and CEO providing leadership and setting the strategic direction for the company while bringing more than 27 years of international banking and wealth management experience to the new endeavor.

Geneva Private Wealth Advisors also benefits from additional strong and experienced partners. In addition to Salsbury, Jean-Pierre Azar, also an industry veteran, brings more than 25 years of international banking, wealth management and ultra high net worth client advisory experience. He is a partner and will serve as the firm’s president and chief investment officer. Both executives will be involved with each client, ensuring consistent access to the firm’s leadership and decision makers. Experienced industry professionals will round out the client advisory team.

Geneva Private Wealth Advisors is positioned as an independent wealth management firm delivering a fee-based, holistic, open-architecture approach to managing wealth that is free of bias and conflicts of interest. In addition to sourcing “best of class” investment opportunities, Salsbury said they also plan develop their own specialized products, as well as offering Family Office Services to their clients. The firm also will offer selected Private Equity opportunities.

“The response we have had from clients and investors has been very positive. Switzerland, with its stability and neutrality, is still the gold standard and the dominant player in the management of global private client wealth,” Salsbury said. “In addition, the current meltdown in the banking and financial sectors and corresponding crisis of confidence, combined with continued industry consolidation, Salsbury added, plays precisely to our strength as a boutique firm, with experienced industry professionals focused on delivering impeccable service, performance and value to a limited number of clients of exceptional wealth.”

“This is an opportunity that Michael and I have talked about extensively and have watched build for years and now is the ideal time,” Azar said. “Even before we decided to create Geneva Private Wealth Advisors, we had individuals, many of them clients and investors that we both knew personally, encouraging us to join together to serve this important market.”

Before founding American Riviera Bank, Salsbury spent more than 10 years with Merrill Lynch primarily in Geneva, Switzerland, where he headed the Geneva International Private Client Group office, and later served as head of Europe private banking with Merrill Lynch Bank Suisse. Salsbury also served as the senior managing director and regional president with First Republic Bank. Earlier in his career, he held management roles with banks in Lisbon, Portugal, and Vienna, Austria.

Azar also worked with Merrill Lynch International in senior client advisory roles during a 17-year period in Kuwait, Miami and Geneva.

Salsbury and Azar bring in-depth expertise to Geneva Private Wealth Advisors, advising clients on a broad range of issues including family governance and strategic planning, and wealth transfer, trust, estate and succession planning. Both have broad expertise in a diverse array of ultra high net worth investment alternatives including private equity, venture capital, REITS, hedge fund analysis and selection, and options and hedging strategies. Salsbury and Azar have dedicated their careers to providing objective counsel, expertise and investment solutions to clients around the world.