Swiss bank sets up regional hub in Bahrain
Manama, October 4, 2012
One of Switzerland's largest international investment banks has decided to upgrade its operations in Bahrain to run as a regional hub, while two other Swiss banks are considering a presence in the kingdom.
This is a massive vote of confidence in Bahrain as the region's financial hub, according to Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) director of licensing and policy Ahmed Albassam.
BSI Bank, one of the oldest banks in Switzerland, with assets under management in excess of $85 billion has upgraded its licence with the CBB to operate as a branch from which it will serve as a hub for the entire Middle East.
BSI Bank has been operating in Bahrain since August 2008 at the Bahrain Financial Harbour in Manama and expanded its team in 2011 despite the unrest in the region.
"BSI believed that Bahrain was the ideal place to set up its presence in the Middle East," said BSI Bahrain chief executive Edmondo Sarteur.
"We have expanded our team who provide specialised asset management services and upgraded our licence to expand our product and service offerings in the Middle East to better serve our client base.
"BSI places great emphasis on establishing and maintaining ongoing personal relationships with clients, while at the same time offering global asset management services with world-class products," he said.
"The BSI move and the fact that two other Swiss financial institutions have approached the CBB about setting up operations here is extremely positive and reflects the confidence people have in Bahrain as a financial hub for the region," said Mr Albassam.
"It a massive vote of confidence in the kingdom," he added.
"This is a clear sign that some people's fears about the future of Bahrain as a financial hub over a year ago were completely unfounded," said Bahrain Association of Banks chief executive Robert Ainey.
"It shows the tide has turned and Bahrain is clearly seen as the regional financial hub and a major international player by leading investment banks.
"This move by BSI to position itself as the key centre for its Middle East operations is good news for Bahrain and a clear signal of the country's leadership in the region's financial industry."
BSI was established in 1873 and is headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland.
It specialises in private banking and asset management services for private and institutional sectors. BSI has extended its presence in major financial markets worldwide in Europe, Asia, Latin America and now in the Middle East from its Bahrain branch. – TradeArabia News Service