Swiss banking group acquires UAE, Bahrain business

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Swiss private banking group Julius Baer announced on Monday that it has acquired Merrill Lynch's International Wealth Management (IWM) businesses based in Lebanon, Bahrain and the UAE.

Julius Baer said it will gain new footholds in Beirut and Manama and strengthen its existing presence in Dubai.

The banking group added that it will acquire well-established businesses in all three locations.

"Merrill Lynch has run private banking activities for more than 50 years in Lebanon and for more than 35 years in Bahrain, forging close ties with the local business communities and authorities," Julius Baer said in a statement.

It added that the employees, client relationships and the majority of the assets of the Middle East businesses transferred in the first days of December.

The process is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2014.

Rémy A Bersier, Julius Baer's head Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa, 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."

Fred Hilal, who joins Julius Baer along with his teams from Merrill Lynch as head Middle East Domestic, added: "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."

In the Middle East, Julius Baer now has offices in Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Cairo, Dubai, Istanbul and Manama.

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