Falcon seeks UAE investment-bank permit to double assets

Private bank plan to double UAE client assets to $1.04bn this year, says CEO
Falcon seeks UAE investment-bank permit to double assets
COMPANY CEO: Falcon Private Bank chief executive Eduardo Leemann
By Bloomberg
Thu 10 Feb 2011 04:51 PM

Falcon Private Bank, owned by Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments, applied for an investment- banking license in the UAE as it seeks to double assets under management for clients in the Gulf nation.

Falcon expects to receive the permit within six months that will allow it to manage assets for private clients using bank accounts in the UAE, CEO Eduardo Leemann said in an interview on Thursday in Dubai.

The bank currently has a private-banking license that requires UAE-based clients to open accounts at its headquarters in Zurich or at a branch in Singapore, he said.

The bank plans to more than double assets managed for UAE clients to 1 billion Swiss francs ($1.04bn) this year from 400 million francs in 2010, he said. There will be a “substantial focus” on family owned businesses, the CEO said.

State-owned Aabar purchased Falcon from American International Group Inc in December 2008 after the insurer was forced to sell assets to repay a US government loan that saved it from bankruptcy.

Falcon reached breakeven in 2010 following two years of losses, and expects a profit in 2011 as assets under management are forecast to increase to 14 billion francs from 12 billion francs last year, Leemann said.

“For 2011, the question is how big the profit will be,” he said.

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