Before reaching the grand duchy, he started his professional career in 1996 as a fixed income trader at ING Bank in Moscow. In 2002, after completing the MBA programme at Insead, he joined the fixed income trading and sales team at Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich in Vienna. From 2004 to 2009 he worked for Raiffeisen in Moscow as founder and CEO of Raiffeisen Capital AMC. In 2009, he moved from financial markets and asset management to private banking and moved to Vienna and became managing director of LGT private bank.
He holds an MA in mathematics from Lomonosov Moscow State University and an MBA from Insead.
Marc Fassone: What is your favourite restaurant?
Andrey Zaytsev: It depends on the time and the occasion. For lunch, I like simple and quick restaurants. Like Ambrosia, a Greek restaurant. For me, they do a very good job. For more formal occasions, I prefer Guillou Campagne. And for really exceptional occasions, I know an exceptional place: La Distillerie at Château de Bourglinster. It was for me a very strong experience in haute cuisine. It has been recognised by the Michelin Guide, I believe, as the best vegetarian restaurant in the world. It's really unbelievable. It's not just about food, it's a staged taste show.
The food is exceptional and the service perfect. A rare combination in Luxembourg. Is it because the cosmopolitan clientele is less demanding? Still, value for money is a disaster in a lot of places, and so is service.
In terms of decoration, what type of ambiance do you prefer in a restaurant?
What I really like about a restaurant is the attitude. I am a wine lover. My first criterion for judging a restaurant is the quality of the wine served by the glass. And the quantity as well. This says a lot about the way managers approach their profession, in a purely commercial way or as a passion. Ideally, the choice offered should be based on what is in the cellar. A very famous restaurant whose name I will not mention offers very basic Italian wines at a high price... The quality of the wine always tells you a lot.
What’s the essential dish for any good menu?
The wine as I said reflects the attitude. It is the dessert that I think is the highlight, essential to end a meal with a good impression. Very often here, the beginnings are very strong and at the end, a dessert of average quality is served, which ends a meal on a note of disappointment which erases all the emotions previously felt.
What is your favourite cocktail, and how do you take it?
As a good wine lover, I am not a fan of cocktails. On this subject, I keep it simple and my preference goes to the extra-dry martini. Perfect for an early evening. With olives, of course.
Champagne or crémant?
Champagne, without hesitation.
In your opinion, what’s the best beer in Luxembourg?
I’m not a beer lover, I rarely drink it and I don’t consider myself an authority on it. I would say La Chouffe. It’s almost Luxembourgish...
What’s your favourite spirit?
I appreciate whisky, and more particularly The Macallan. It's not very original. And I drink it without ice. There is no question of spoiling such a good product.
Are you a tea or coffee person?
It would be coffee. I hate the tea that I associate with medication. When someone is unwell, they are mostly offered tea. Tea is good for your health. Coffee is for fun. I always start my days with a ristretto. Without anything else. I prefer not to have breakfast and lunch early. It's a choice.
Let’s talk style. Made-to-measure, or ready-to-wear?
Ready-to-wear. I have a few bespoke suits, but for everyday life, it's ready-to-wear. My wife takes care of this. She makes selections and invites me to the store for the final test. I am not a fashion man. The comfortable side wins out for me.
Do you have a favourite designer or brand?
No. I have different pieces from different brands. It depends on the occasion. Again, I rely on my wife.
What’s your style? Chic or casual?
What is your essential accessory?
A watch. I especially appreciate Vacheron Constantin even if I’m not loyal to any particular brand. I acquired one, quite rare. It was an investment and it became a part of me, of my personality. The beauty of it is that these are objects that are passed on. They will go to my children.
And what about ties? Also an essential accessory?
I don't like ties. And I'm glad that now the requirement to wear one is less and less strict, even in my profession as a private banker. When I started my career, I had to wear one. I was not really comfortable and at the slightest opportunity, I would take it off. This is only seen as a norm on a few very special occasions. And at these times, I wear a black tie.
What do you wear to important meetings?
A blue suit, white shirt and sometimes, for more formal meetings, a tie.
Tell us about the last time you put on a tuxedo.
Given the circumstances, I have to dig into my memory. It must be over a year ago for a special event hosted by an investment firm.
What’s your favourite weekend look?
Jeans and sneakers.
What do you think is an unforgiveable sartorial fault?
I am rather questioning faced with people who behave like real brand slaves. For me, fashion only makes sense when it's worn well. Fashion is all about harmony. And if something doesn't fit you, you don't have to wear it just because it's a brand. It is better to move towards harmony, to choose things that suit you rather than blindly following certain trends.
Who is the best-dressed man or woman in the country?
The one who comes to mind immediately is Xavier Bettel. I like the way he presents himself. Perhaps it can also be seen in my choice that we Russians pay too much attention to politicians.
What’s your favourite getaway destination?
Fréjus and more generally Provence. Wild Provence, not worldly Provence as it can exist in Cannes or even in Saint-Tropez. It's different, intense and colourful, all at the same time. It’s not for nothing that many great painters have settled there. And let's not forget the Mistral, a local personality. This is where I would retire.
And what do you read there?
I mostly read the Financial Times. Including during my free time. Besides just finance, a lot of subjects are very well covered like science, technology and culture. And sometimes I revisit the classics of Russian literature.
There is also a book that does not exist: the guide to rosé wines. While there are a lot of authoritative books on wine, like the Parker Guide, there is nothing about rosé. Rosé is a very separate universe in the wine world. Their lifespan is very short--one year, two maximum. By the time a book is published, there will be no more bottles. This is one of the reasons I do a lot of tastings. And Provence is full of good addresses for that.
Like, for example, the château d’Esclans of which I recommend the setting and production.
This interview was originally published in French on Paperjam and has been translated and edited for Delano.