FRANCE – Pictet says it plans to open a branch office in Paris on January 5.

The Swiss asset management group said in a statement that the office would be dedicated to private asset management and institutional investment fund distribution.

“We firmly believe that there is a wealth of potential for demanding clients seeking custom-tailored services, long-term relationships, independent investment advice and the utmost discretion” said Claude Demole, a managing partner of Pictet & Cie.

“An office in Paris will allow us to offer French clients unique access to the investment expertise of the Pictet Group, backed by two hundred years of experience.”

The nine-strong office would be co-headed by Joël Rochat and Hervé Thiard. Rochat, Pictet’s former head of private banking marketing, will head up private wealth management. Thiard, currently the firm’s French marketing head, will run investment fund sales to corporates.

The entity will be a branch of Banque Pictet & Cie (Europe) SA Luxembourg. It still has to receive approval from the Comité des Etablissements de Crédit et des Entreprises d'Investissements and the Autorité des Marchés Financiers.

Pictet has more than 116 billion euros under management and custody. Pictet Funds was set up in 1997.