Bahrain strives to become private banking hub
The Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA) has launched a new scheme to enhance Bahrain's status as a private banking hub in the Middle East region. The new initiative is aimed at better positioning Bahraini banks to target assets, estimated at over $800 billion, held by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) investors.
As a first move, the BMA is conducting a survey to determine the size of the private banking industry in the Kingdom. Initial results of the survey show that private banking assets exceed $22 billion, which constitutes about 20 percent of the total assets held by Bahraini banks.
The survey, which covers all commercial banks, offshore banking units (OBUs) and investment banks, assesses the volume of assets held by the banks in the form of deposits and/or investments that exceed $250,000 per client as well as the number of such clients.
Although only 10 Bahrain banks, at present, undertake wealth management, the BMA has seen a noticeable increase in private banking business. Recent international developments, both political and economic, are also offering renewed opportunities for banks in the region in managing the wealth of Middle East high net worth individuals (HNWIs), as well as institutional investors.
The assets of HNWIs from the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region are estimated at about $1.3 trillion, of which 80 percent is held by GCC HNWIs. The demand for Islamic private banking services is also growing significantly in the GCC. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)