By Ed Attwood
Emirates NBD official sees more wealthy clients opening private banking accounts
The debt crisis in Europe has led to a slew of wealthy individuals from the continent taking refuge from the storm by setting up base in the UAE, a senior official from the country’s biggest bank by assets has said.
“Recently we went through the list of clients that we’ve got and the new clients coming through the door, and we are seeing a lot more Europeans,” Gary Dugan, Emirates NBD’s chief investment officer for private banking, told reporters at the Economist conference in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
“Increasingly, we’re seeing not just people in retirement or who have been here for some time, it’s actually people who have moved to the region and are moving their money here from Europe.”
Dugan said that despite the perceived downsides to living in the region, the tax-free status of the UAE was becoming increasingly important given the austerity measures being imposed in some counties of the Eurozone.
“Clearly, if you take the UK as an example, these tax increases come in at the turn of the year, with higher VAT tax and 50 percent taxes - it’s obviously starting to weigh on people.”
“Whether it’s finding a home on the Palm, or banking their cash, or keeping a euro deposit account open for them, we’re just seeing more of those types of accounts being opened at present.”
Individuals applying for private banking at Emirates NBD need to have a minimum deposit of $1m. The official did not indicate exactly how big the growth in European clients had been, but said that the change had been noted in the last few months,
“This is first time, after that wave of people that left their cars in the carparks, that we’re actually seeing quite the reverse and it’s picking up some momentum,” Dugan added.
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