UAE private bank sees assets doubling in five years

Falcon, owned by Abu Dhabi's Aabar Investments, expects assets to grow to up to $25bn
UAE private bank sees assets doubling in five years
Falcon private bank expects assets under management to nearly double in five years.
By Reuters
Wed 13 Apr 2011 09:30 PM

Falcon private bank, owned

by Abu Dhabi's Aabar Investments, expects assets under

management to nearly double in five years as it taps into

growing wealth in Gulf and Asian markets, its CEO said on

Wednesday.

Eduardo Leeman said the bank expects its assets to grow from

$13.5 billion to between $20 and $25 billion as it expands into

the Gulf and some Asian countries.

"We will focus on emerging markets in the East as well as in

some Gulf markets where we are seeing GDP growing, wealth

growing and where there is a future for private wealth

management," he told reporters.

The Zurich-based bank bought by Abu Dhabi's Aabar

Investments in late 2008, opened its representative office in

Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.

The bank has a representative office in Dubai and branches

in Hong Kong, Singapore, Zurich and Geneva.

In the UAE, the bank's assets under management have grown to

$600 million and are projected to reach $1 billion by the end of

2011, he said. "The UAE is the most stable economy in the region

and with increasing wealth here, we see our business growing

fast," he said.

The bank's clients in the UAE and Gulf are not just

nationals but expatriates as well, he added.

Falcon has applied for an investment advisory licence with

the UAE Central Bank that is currently under processing, he

said.

The bank is capitalised at around $200 million after an

injection of new capital twice by owners Aabar in the last two

years.

"The owners converted a subordinated debt into equity in

2009 and contributed $25 million in new equity last year to fuel

the growth of the bank," he said, ruling out any further capital

increases at least for the next four to five years.

Among emerging markets, Falcon is eyeing Russia, China and

Indonesia as "they are very interesting and offer tremendous

business potential," he said.

Zurich-based Falcon Private Bank Ltd was the private banking

unit of American International Group (AIG) before Aabar bought

it in April 2009.

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