StanChart private banking expands in UAE
Dubai, May 18, 2010
Standard Chartered's private banking division plans to hire as many as 10 relationship managers in the UAE by year-end as part of its expansion plan, the lender said on Tuesday.
Standard Chartered is also looking at how its subsidiary would operate in Saudi Arabia, having taken a licence to operate in the kingdom, David Inglesfield, regional head of Standard Chartered Private Bank told Reuters, declining to give further details.
"We cover the region in the Middle East and we are increasing our coverage of the UAE market," he said, adding that he expected to have as many as 35 relationship managers in the UAE by the end of 2010, up from 25 currently.
Inglesfield said in November the division, which started operations in 2007, would open offices in Qatar, Bahrain and Lebanon as it boosts its presence in the Middle East to tap the region's growing market for services to the super rich.
The bank announced on Tuesday the launch of a new mortgage which offers a loan amount of up to $5 million, targetting high net worth individuals.
"We think it is the highest mortgage on the market," he told reporters, adding the bank's interest rates were mostly below 7 percent. "We have continued lending over the last two-to-three years," he said.
Inglesfield said that during the first quarter the division had seen increasing interest from international investors in the UAE's property market. "Since the start of the year a number of clients who live in Asia and Europe have been asking us about opportunities in the UAE. There is a pick up in interest and inquiries." he said.
JP Grobbelaar, director of research and advisory at Colliers International, said on Tuesday that Dubai's property market is marturing.
"It's no longer the rollercoaster ride we experienced a few a few years ago," he told reporters.
House prices in Dubai, off some 50 percent from their peaks in the third quarter of 2008, are expected to fall further this year due to oversupply, he added. The market, already oversupplied by around 20 percent, would fall further with the addition of 41,000 homes between now and the end of the year, he said.
Dubai house prices are set to fall by 15 percent in 2010, following a 45 percent decline from peaks in the third quarter of 2008, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said in a report on Monday, adding it sees 44,000 vacant homes in 2010. - Reuters