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Wed 22 Aug 2007 11:26 AM

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Credit Suisse targets region's super-rich

Company to hire team of dedicated private banking relationship managers to service the Middle East.

Banking giant Credit Suisse has announced plans to hire a team of dedicated private banking relationship managers to service the Middle Eastern market.

The decision marks the latest move by an international bank to take advantage of the under-exploited private banking industry in the region.

The demand for private banking and bespoke wealth management services in the Middle East is growing.

According to the Merrill Lynch and Capgemini 2007 World Wealth Report the ranks of the world's super-rich are swelling, along with the staggering value of their assets.

In the Middle East total high net worth individual (HNWI) wealth grew by 11.7% in 2006. Over the same period the HNWI population grew by 11.9%.

Yet despite an increasing number of banks moving into the region with private banking services, there is still room for growth in the industry according to private bankers already resident here.

There is also plenty of scope for local banks to develop their wealth management services to compete with foreign players that are not familiar with the Gulf's banking environment.

According to Bruno Daher, Credit Suisse's head of private banking in the Middle East/Indian Sub-continent and co-CEO of the Middle East, the new team "will be instrumental in helping us to further strengthen our presence in this important and rapidly growing private banking market and will have a strong focus on the countries of the Gulf region".

They will however, remain based in Zurich. The team will be headed by Mark Idriss with effect from December 1. Idriss moves from HSBC's Zurich-based Middle East and North Africa team.

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