Top Swiss group acquires Merrill Mideast units
Manama, December 10, 2013
Switzerland's third-largest wealth manager Julius Baer Group has taken over the international wealth management business of Merrill Lynch in Bahrain, Lebanon and the UAE after an agreement was signed last year.
Julius Baer said that through this it is gaining a foothold in Beirut and Manama and strengthening its existing presence in Dubai.
In line with this, the group has named Fred Hilal as its new Middle East domestic head. Hilal joined the Swiss firm along with his teams from Merrill Lynch.
"All employees, client relationships and the majority of the assets of the Middle Eastern businesses of Merrill Lynch were transferred to Julius Baer in the first days of this month and the process is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year," Hilal told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
"I am confident that we will be able to continue on our growth path and attract further talented relationship managers in the coming months and years," he added, while refusing to provide details on the size of the Bahrain asset portfolio and the number of employees.
Merrill Lynch has had private banking business in Lebanon for around 50 years and 35 years in Bahrain.
Julius Baer executive board member and head of Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa Rémy Bersier said, "Gaining new footholds in the Middle Eastern markets of Lebanon and Bahrain and strengthening our existing Dubai presence is an important step for us and will enable us to further expand our footprint in this key growth region."
In the Middle East, Julius Baer now has offices in Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Cairo, Dubai, Istanbul and Manama.
The Swiss firm, which had 249 billion francs ($279 billion) of assets under management at the end of October, agreed to buy Merrill Lynch's international wealth management business outside the US and Japan from Bank of America last year.
The Zurich-based firm said the acquisition was an excellent strategic fit and strengthens the group's presence in key growth markets around the globe and significantly enlarges its asset base.-TradeArabia News Service