Family-owned Banque Havilland has received a Financial Service Authority (FSA) licence to open and operate a London private bank.
Nicholas Parker CEO for private banking said the bank had been "focusing on the FSA", registering clients and setting up the Mayfair-based branch since December.
The FSA confirmed it had sent a welcome pack to the private bank, and had provided Havilland with a firm reference.
The bank will be trading from today, confirmed a spokesperson at Banque Havilland.
The Luxembourg-based bank has two branches in Monaco and Luxembourg, but was awaiting approvals to open one in London.
The London branch currently employs eight people.
Parker said the bank had 1,600 clients to date, and that it managed "significantly more" than the 500m ($626.8m) in AuM announced in June 2012 by COO Venetia Lean.
The private bank was financed by property developer, investor and Conservative Party donor David Rowland in 2009 after the Rowland family bought the Luxembourg branch of the former Icelandic bank Kaupthing for an estimated $301.6m.
The Kaupthing division was restructured at the time into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ banks: the "good" assets formed to create Banque Havilland.
The Rowland family’s net worth is estimated at about $992m.
"A decent footprint" with 1,600 clients
Parker said the bank had chosen London as a trading centre because it was "transparent" and had the best talent pool, but admitted the bank was not planning on any new investments.
Havilland’s international strategy means that it has UK, CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States or former Soviet Republics), Middle East and Thai clients, but "has no intentions of handling US clients at this stage", said Parker.
"At the moment there are no plans, but never say never," he said.
Parker added, "More international plans will be considered carefully in the course of the next 24 months, but for the moment US clients are not considered."
The bank is hoping to attract prospective clients in the UK, which are "significant families and wealthy clients with the same vision of a "unique" family-owned bank", according to Parker.