SWITZERLAND - Pictet & Cie’s senior partner, Charles Pictet, is leaving the company after 36 years to join the seven-member Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC), the authority that controls the country’s financial sector.

The government has announced that Pictet and consulting barrister Anne Heritier will join the commission in January.

“I am very honoured by the trust which has been placed in me,” said Pictet, adding he felt he could “make a useful contribution to the SFBC and continue to build bridges between French- and German-speaking Swiss”.

He said the appointment was a “tremendous token of confidence from the Federal authorities”.

Pictet, who has been a partner at the firm for 25 years, went on to say that leaving it had been “a difficult decision”, and his new position brought with it “a heavy weight of responsibility to be shouldered”.

But the firm, which has nine partners including a senior partner, said it was free from any succession problems. A spokesman told IPE no new partner would be appointed but Charles Pictet’s cousin, Ivan, will be appointed senior partner as of July 1 2005.

“Continuity will be assued by the eight other partners, ” he said.

Pictet also observed “the burden and complexity” of banking regulations in Switzerland are becoming “a handicap” for Swiss banks against foreign competition.

“In view of what is at stake, it seems to me important for a banker to agree to forsake his advantages to join the SFBC,” Pictet continued ”so that he can give it the benefit of his actual professional experience, complement its skills and prevent the Commission from being run exclusively by lawyers, however accomplished they might be.“

Pictet has also been strongly involved in the past in the federal AVS the first_pillar commission, the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) committee on pension funds and the International Institute for Banking Studies (IIEB).

Earlier this week, the new appointee said the implementation of the IAS19 reporting standards for pensions in Switzerland goes against the principles of the second pillar at a conference organised by Pictet Asset Management

The new standards have created a “link” between the pension fund and the sponsor he told delegates.