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Mario Maccanelli: a passion for banking and art

Mario Maccanelli has been a keen observer of the Ticino banking system for the past two decades


As a highly experienced banker, Mario Maccanelli is a close observer of Switzerland's third financial centre - the canton of Ticino. Much has changed in the area in the past two decades, he says, but not all for the better.

A native of canton Graubünden, he has worked for the past 24 years at the Banca del Gottardo in Lugano. But these days he prefers art to hard-hitting headlines on banking secrecy.

"People today have forgotten how to listen. I detest aggressive sensationalism, and in Ticino most people are incapable of asking the right kind of question - or of keeping their own counsel.

On the board of the Banca del Gottardo in Lugano, my role is that of "Operational Marketing Manager". Put more simply, my job is to act as the conveyor belt for company information at all levels. I'm down-to-earth; I'm a front-line consultant, trying to help my colleagues go about their business. My aim is to get the job done. I try to convey the idea that I'm... "competent".

I was born in Chur, and Graubünden is still very dear to my heart. Connected with Lugano on my father's side of the family - my uncle and grandfather were Lugano people born and bred - I studied economics at St Gallen.

Since then, I have lived for more than 20 years in Ticino. The image of the region's banks has changed a lot in the past 24 years: in the past it was very easy to cross the border and be welcomed with open arms by various banks. Why not, after all?

It is a love-hate relationship: we Swiss are competent; we manage a good slice of the world's private wealth, including the more controversial fortunes. This inevitably sets tongues wagging, as well as arousing envy.

It would, however, be impossible to manage without the Swiss banks: we have built up professional know-how in this sector which - modesty aside - is difficult to match. We nevertheless need to examine ourselves; we are top of the class, but the others are not happy to remain in second place.

I observe with sadness the way Lugano is losing its roots. The face of the old city has changed out of all recognition. What will we be handing on to our children and grandchildren? A city without any links with its past. It is a shame. Without the past, there can be no future.

I love art and would like to see the image of Lugano automatically associated in people's minds, at an international level, with the Galleria Gottardo - a Ticino institution founded 10 years ago. I would like Lugano to become, like the Galleria Gottardo is for the bank, a window open on the world.

I enjoy reading. A book I recently reviewed for our in-house magazine says something like this: "We need to try to be something, to be someone, and then communicate it". In conclusion, we need to help one another to grow."

Mario Maccanelli


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