About

Investment services for private and public equity vehicles

Paragon SA is a real estate firm providing investment services to private and public equity vehicles focused on real estate and real estate-related endeavours in Switzerland and selected markets abroad. Paragon works with investment partners to identify, asset manage, and operate properties. We are a one-stop shop with expertise in finance, leasing, insurance, redevelopment, construction and building operations. 

Paragon’s executives are multi-lingual and multi-national and benefit from an international approach to corporate culture combined with a local presence and expertise in local markets. 

Paragon’s key strengths lie in distressed opportunities, underperforming and undervalued assets and value-creation opportunities. Investments include single assets, portfolios, joint ventures, and real estate development, as well as real estate-related loans and debt instruments. We canvas retail, logistics, office, industrial, and senior and student housing opportunities.

Paragon stories

Introducing Paragon Story : Piretti SA (Part 1)

PARAGON STORY

What is a Paragon Story? At Paragon, we strive for variety in our projects, whether they involve Sale & Lease-back partnerships, Value-Add investments or Private Equity. Today, we are pleased to encapsulate these humane stories in a series of short videos.

Paragon Story : Piretti SA (Part 2)

PARAGON STORY

Part 2 : The Challenges and Successes

Note from the CEO

Mike Wolfson

Mike is the Managing Director and founder of Paragon SA. He previously worked and managed Westcore Switzerland from 2006 until 2012. Mike began his career at Hewlett-Packard’s European headquarters where for eight years he worked in international finance and corporate real estate.

Reflecting on the milestones, challenges, and achievements that defined our 2023 I am proud of the hard work and resilience demonstrated by the Paragon team. As we pass into the new year, we can reflect on the significant accomplishments and strategic initiatives that have solidified our standing in the markets in which we operate and have given us a platform on which we can continue to grow.

This past year was one of the most intense for Paragon, manifested, for example, by the successful construction of our first storage building: Para-Box, on the highway at the Coppet exit, the strategic sales of several properties in Geneva, the refinancing of a large commercial property in Bex, our geographical expansion to Canada, our continued foray into France, our acquisition with a club of investors into a new operating company, and the 10 year anniversary of Piretti, our construction company, that continues to flourish.

As we turn our attention to 2024, the economic and political climate presents a mix of challenges and opportunities. Inflation and rising interest rates have been influential but our feeling is that the situation will stabilize in the upcoming year. The uncertainties surrounding the war in Ukraine, the on-going conflict in Middle East and the presidential elections in the US will make 2024 a complex and busy year, but Switzerland continues to attract foreign capital despite a Swiss Franc that is as strong as ever, and we benefit from strong local business fundamentals and growing demographics.   Paragon, true to its ethos, sees potential opportunities amid challenges in this constantly evolving environment.

In the pursuit of diversification, a central theme for us in 2024, we aim to explore even more opportunities in Canada and France, while strengthening our position in Switzerland. Our private equity, real estate, and lending businesses are expanding locally and internationally reflecting our confidence in the markets where we focus and allowing us to diversify outside of Switzerland.

Excitingly, we recently acquired a share in a tree nursery operating company in Geneva, and we are launching an operational mini-storage business — strategic moves aligned with our vision to create value and provide employment opportunities where our “people” can find meaning and purpose in their missions.  With a strengthened leadership team and enhanced strategic partnerships, we are poised for a dynamic 2024.

As we navigate the complexities of the real estate and private equity markets, our commitment to meaningful work, purpose-driven investments, and a sustainable work-life balance, remains unwavering. We will meet the challenges ahead with confidence, knowing that Paragon has the team, spirit, and tools to continue delivering above-market performance.

We continue to search for opportunities in complex environments where we can add value-thanks to our willingness to roll up our sleeves and work hard.  We think 2024 will provide many more of these opportunities and we are ready to get back to work after a well-deserved Christmas break!  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any interesting ideas on what you think we might want to invest in.  We are open to co-investments and strongly believe that all ships must rise with the tide.

Here’s to a successful and fulfilling 2024!

Mike Wolfson

Mike is the Managing Director and founder of Paragon SA. He previously managed Westcore Switzerland from 2006 until 2012. Mike began his career at Hewlett-Packard’s European headquarters where he worked in international finance and corporate real estate.

At Westcore, Mike facilitated over CHF 300 million worth of commercial real estate transactions and achieved an average internal rate of return (IRR) well above investor expectations (20%+). Mike was responsible for acquisitions and dispositions, raising equity and debt, and overseeing day-to-day asset management. He was also an investor in sub-performing loans in the UK and the US.

A graduate of McGill University in Canada, Mike also holds an MBA from the University of Geneva. Mike speaks French, English and German, and has lived in Europe for over 20 years bridging both the European and North American cultures.

Frédéric Berney

Fréderic Berney is a Licensed chartered accountant, HEC Saint-Gall graduate, Partner and member of the board of Berney Associés, a Swiss consulting company.

Frédéric Berney, has worked more than 15 years in broad fields such as audit, accounting, tax and financial advisory, in Geneva and Zürich, serving both Swiss and international clients.

At Berney Group, he specifically focuses in consulting companies, providing them with financial advice and corporate governance guidance , which bring him to be frequently consulted by Paragon’s managers in their real estate related activities.

Kevin Lecocq

For the past 25 years Kevin has been a professional investor at leading firms in New York, London and Zurich. As Global Chief Investment Officer at Deutsche Bank Asset & Wealth Management, he oversaw €310 billion in assets on behalf of wealthy families and institutions.

As chair of the investment committee, he allocated capital across all asset classes but also directly restructured a troubled billion pound UK commercial property fund inherited from his predecessor. Additional former roles include Global CIO at Barclays Wealth and senior executive positions at UBS and Gen Re/Berkshire Hathaway.

Kevin also served five years as an infantry officer in the US Marine Corps and was decorated for heroism in combat. He holds an MBA from UCLA and a BA (honours) from the University of Rochester and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Dr. Alan Wolfson

Alan Wolfson is a principal investor in Paragon deals. He has a PhD in Economics earned at Harvard in 1975. From 1974-81, Alan was a professor at the University of Toronto. In 1980-81, he was a research fellow at Oxford University. Then Alan spent a decade in government, with a number of senior appointments in the Ontario Government, culminating in the presidency of the Workers’ Compensation Board. From 1990-97, he was a senior executive at TD Canada Trust, ending up as president of its mutual fund business.

In 1997, Dr.Wolfson joined Capital One, who had IPO’d some two years earlier. He took on the post of Managing Director, International for Capital One, spearheading its growth into non-US markets. Dr. Wolfson retired from Capital One in 2004.

Since then, he has been involved as an advisor and consultant and has served on the boards of a number of companies, as well as non-profit and charitable institutions.

Mike Wolfson

Managing Director & Founder

Mike is the Managing Director and founder of Paragon SA. He previously managed Westcore Switzerland from 2006 until 2012. Mike began his career at Hewlett-Packard’s European headquarters where he worked in international finance and corporate real estate.

At Westcore, Mike facilitated over CHF 300 million worth of commercial real estate transactions and achieved an average internal rate of return (IRR) well above investor expectations (20%+). Mike was responsible for acquisitions and dispositions, raising equity and debt, and overseeing day-to-day asset management. He was also an investor in sub-performing loans in the UK and the US.

A graduate of McGill University in Canada, Mike also holds an MBA from the University of Geneva. Mike speaks French, English and German, and has lived in Europe for over 20 years bridging both the European and North American cultures.

Yan Grandjean

Chief Investment Officer

Yan brings extensive real estate and strategic advisory expertise to the team. Yan’s most recent position was with PwC, where he managed the Real Estate Advisory practice. In this role he oversaw valuations in the context of acquisition due diligence and year-end portfolio review. Yan advised funds, corporations, and private investors and his mandates included clients such as Swisscanto, Akara Funds or Migros.

Before joining PwC, Yan worked for the Performance Improvement team focused on financial services at EY. As a project manager, Yan worked for financial institutions on various projects related to strategy, management, IT, and compliance. Since 2019, Yan also co-founded the start-up Spirgrips, which commercializes patented bike handles and hopes to contribute to « changing the way people ride, for good! ».

Yan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from HEC Geneva as well as a Master’s degree in Finance from the Universities of Lausanne, Geneva and Neuchâtel. Yan is also a certified RPA developer and a CFA charterholder.

Arthur De Rivoire

VP Asset Management

Arthur is involved in the new acquisitions and development at Paragon. He asset manages all of Paragon’s existing projects but he is also in charge of new acquisitions, brokerage activities as well as business development at Paragon.

Arthur is an entrepreneur and brings to Paragon his experience, creativity, and enthusiasm that has helped contribute to the successful founding of several companies. Arthur successfully raised more than CHF 2m in equity funding for his start-ups, hired and managed professional development and marketing teams, and earned valuable experience in these endeavours. He recently joined Paragon to pursue his passion for Real Estate investment and further develop our activities in Switzerland and beyond.

Arthur holds a Master’s degree in Finance from the University of Lausanne and began his career in Private Banking in Geneva. He is also a former Swiss National Golf Champion and still competes at National level.

Vita Karas

Accountant & Controller

Vita is in charge of controlling all transactions, monitor our financial flows while ensuring that our accounting and accounts are in order. She is also responsible for the HR department of Paragon SA.

She has 20 years of professional experience in accounting and finance, in Switzerland and abroad, in the world of watchmaking, banking, oil, construction and wine company.

Vita is a certified accountant and graduated in Geneva. She obtained a Master’s degree in Economics in Russia and continued her studies in Switzerland. She speaks French, Italian, English, Russian and Ukrainian.

Céline Wolfson

Marketing & Communications Manager

Celine has more than 25 years experience in project management and marketing, both in private and public companies in Geneva and internationally. Her career in the luxury market was forged at Franck Muller Watchland where she presided over sales and purchasing for over 10 years.

For the following ten years, at the University of Geneva she created a successful adult education program (specialized in commodity trading), demonstrating her ability to adapt, her appetite for a challenge, and the commitment to remain focused for over a decade at each venture she commits to.

Celine’s role at Paragon involves maintaining the positive image and reputation of Paragon SA with its partners and investors as well as organizing our corporate events. Celine has a master’s degree in marketing (ESCO Paris and Brooks University, Oxford) and has continued to add to her qualifications throughout her career. She is fluent in French, English, and German and knows the Swiss market very well.

Shahyad Esfandiary

Principal

Shahyad managed Hardstone Real Estate in Geneva, Switzerland from 2006 until 2013, and currently works as a Principal in association with Paragon SA. At Hardstone, with a team of six people, Shahyad acquired and managed a portfolio of real estate assets worth close to a billion euros mainly located in France and Switzerland, achieving double-digit returns for Hardstone’s investors.

Previously, Shahyad worked for 4 years in London and Paris for real estate investment management firm Fountain Capital Partners, where notably he advised on the acquisition of 36, Rue La Fayette for TIAA-Cref, producing double-digit returns. He had moved in 2002 from Schroder Salomon Smith Barney (“SSSB”) where he was a member of the European M&A team.

Shahyad is a graduate of HEC (Paris) and holds a law degree from the University of Buckingham, UK and speaks fluent English and French.

Scott McIlroy

Managing Director & Partner of Paragon Canada

Scott is the Managing Director and a Partner of Paragon Canada. Scott is a Registered Real Estate Broker in Ontario, Canada.

During his career, Scott has facilitated over $300 million worth of real estate transactions. Before joining Paragon, Scott founded Killarney Partners, where assignments led by Scott and his group provided strategic acquisition and advisory services to private family offices, financial services, and real estate firms.

Previously, Scott has held senior-level real estate roles at leading national brokerage firms and public and private real estate companies, including Minto Developments, one of Canada’s largest condo developers. Scott divides his time between Toronto and Geneva, Switzerland.