SWITZERLAND - Barclays Global Investors has hired Pictet's Claire Locher to head its new Swiss operation.

BGI said it has set up Barclays Global Investors (Suisse) SA and opened an office in Geneva.

It said: "BGI has hired Claire Locher from Pictet Funds SA to lead the Swiss business, and fill the new role of director of Switzerland."

It already runs €4.5bn for Swiss investors such as Publica and the City of Zurich - but this is the first time BGI has had a presence on the ground in the country.

"The range of institutional investors in the Swiss market and their increasing demand for the scientific investment solutions that BGI is famous for, now calls for a presence on the ground," said BGI's co-chief executive Andrew Skirton.

"It is a step which will give Swiss investors access to the full force of BGI's global investment capability."