Being a leading advisor

When in 2002 I was first selected as one of the leading advisors in Switzerland, I almost burst with pride. Who is not pleased to receive praise.

It was not until later that I understood that many of these rankings have little to do with quality, that one can simply buy a placing and that much can be influenced.

My mentor at the beginning of my career was a Tax Partner close to retirement. He smoked in the office and it was not unknown for him to drink a beer in the office. On his desk there was a PC, but I had always suspected that he didn’t even know how to switch it on.

But he had a mammoth memory. In his brain were stored all the court decisions of the last 30 years, which it was much quicker to find from him than in the library. His greatest triumph was however the ability to apply all these legal cases correctly and creatively to his pending cases. I liked asking him for advice. Mostly he said that he was not quite sure (modesty was another of his qualities), but the case, that I described to him, reminded him of a case in Canton Solothurn in 1956. It was always right. His advice was always right on the dot.

Clearly, what he could do then, I can also in part have with clever software (best of all auto-didactic). But he was then quicker and also more accurate. In addition with him it was always more fun than with any software. He was for me the person, who should have stood on the podium in the Tax Advisor ranking, but probably had never landed on any.

This year I have again been mentioned in one of these rankings (International Tax Review).

I would not be honest, if I didn’t say that for 20 seconds I was pleased. Only then did I start to consider where those are mentioned, whom I know and in my opinion are certainly as good as, if not better than, I am and are not on the list.

Clearly objectivity in these lists is difficult. As long as the criteria for the evaluation are not disclosed, so that a “purchase» would be excluded, and any surveys are not really representative, such a list is unfortunately not very meaningful.

That is why I am considering how one could create a platform, with which with as objective as possible criteria the best could be named. If you have a tip for me, let me know and then we’ll start something and see who gets on this list in 2018.


Bildquelle: Tim Reckmann  /

2 thoughts on “Being a leading advisor

  1. Interesting! I would’ve used a weighted voting-system based on e.g. the following criterias:
    1. General recommendations/votes:
    2. Produced litterature
    3. Legal wins
    Each criteria can then be voted up and down by others, whereas each vote is weigthed by e.g. the following criterias:
    -Extra weigth for votes from persons within academia on nr 2 and 3 above (Purpose: Qualitative votes).
    -Extra weight for votes from people with high score (Purpose: Qualitative votes)
    -Positive votes from colleagues less weight (Purpose: Reduce tactical voting)
    -Negative votes from competitors less weigth (Purpose: Reduce tactical voting)
    -Extra weight for not-connected votes (FB/LIn) (Purpose: Reduce pal-voting)
    All in a democratic manner of course, where the weigth of each main criteria and weigth-criterias can be voted on by the contendents.
    The final score could then be a product of both the average score, the weight of each vote, and how many votes you’ve got.

    Liked by 1 person

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