Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 July 2019

Dubai’s deVere Group buys private bank in the Caribbean

The financial advisory firm deVere Group says it has expanded into private banking with an acquisition in St Lucia.

DeVere Group, a global financial advisory company, says it has expanded into private banking by buying St Lucia-based Arton Bank.

The Dubai company, which has been beefing up its presence in the Arabian Gulf in recent years, will be wading into a crowded private banking market at a time when low oil prices have slowed down the pace at which millionaires are minted.

The private bank, however, will not be operating in the UAE, a spokesman said.

“We were able to acquire the St Lucia banking licence of Arton Bank and this, in turn, now enables us to offer a range of international private banking services directly to our global client base who seek an efficient, internationally focused service,” Nigel Green, the chief executive of deVere, told The National.

“St Lucia is an ideal base for our private bank. It’s a safe, established, English-speaking jurisdiction that offers complete confidentiality for our clients.”

DeVere did not disclose how much it had paid for Arton Bank.

There are more than 60 private banks operating in the Arabian Gulf. Most of them are based in Dubai. But not only is the number of competitors growing, but the pool of funds is decreasing.

Credit Suisse, the world’s second-biggest private bank, has said that household wealth in the Middle East and North Africa fell by 2.2 per cent between the middle of 2014 and the middle of 2015 amid the steepest drop in oil prices since the financial crash of 2009.

DeVere will be competing with some of the world’s largest banks.

Swiss private banks have especially been making a sprint for the region because fines on a number of banks in the European country, including UBS, the largest by assets under management, have increased the costs they incur to ensure they are compliant with rules and regulations. That has forced them to boost their presence in emerging markets, where there are more growth opportunities.

mkassem@thenational.ae

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Updated: January 24, 2017 04:00 AM

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