Swiss Bank Pictet Opens Munich Office for German Clients

Pictet & Cie. Group SCA, Switzerland’s largest closely held private bank, has opened a branch office in Munich as part of a move to expand business with German clients.

The bank’s Frankfurt office will continue to serve as its main hub in Germany, Pictet said in an e-mailed statement today.

“The opening of the Munich office is a logical step for us after our client relationships in Munich and southern Germany developed so positively in recent years,” Marc Pictet, a partner at the bank, said in the statement.

Pictet joins Swiss banks Julius Baer Group Ltd. and Vontobel Holding AG in opening new premises in Germany to provide local wealth management services amid a crackdown by German authorities on individuals depositing undeclared funds offshore. Authorities have investigated UBS AG (UBSN), Credit Suisse Group AG and Julius Baer -- Switzerland’s three largest wealth managers -- for helping Germans evade taxes.

“We will not open six or seven offices as some of our competitors have done,” Oliver Moeller, a Frankfurt-based spokesman for Pictet, said by telephone. Clients of the bank in Munich will book assets domestically in Frankfurt or use Geneva for cross-border accounts, he said.

Super-rich Germans

Credit Suisse said in December it was selling its German private-banking business with about 10 billion euros ($13.8 billion) under management to ABN Amro Group NV’s Bethmann Bank. Credit Suisse plans to focus on servicing super-rich Germans and will book the business in Switzerland and Luxembourg, the company said at the time.

Germany is the world’s fourth-largest wealth market behind the U.S., Japan and China, and has 362,000 millionaire households, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group in May. Ultra-wealthy households with more than $100 million in private financial wealth numbered 680, compared with 3,016 in the U.S. and 339 in Switzerland, the Boston-based firm said.

Wealth management firms provide private-banking deposit and transaction services, investment advice and retirement and succession planning services to individuals and families.

Pictet, which was established in 1805 and is the largest bank based in Geneva, managed 301.7 billion Swiss francs ($341 billion) for individuals and institutional customers at the end of December, compared with 296.6 billion francs at the end of September, a Geneva-based company official said by telephone.

Moeller said the Germany business is profitable. He declined to provide a figure for assets under management overseen for German clients.

To contact the reporter on this story: Giles Broom in Geneva at gbroom@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net James Kraus, Keith Campbell

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