x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Swiss bank opens in Abu Dhabi to service the super-rich

Falcon Private Bank opens its first branch in Abu Dhabi as the emirate seeks to expand its wealth management industry.

Falcon Private Bank, the Swiss bank owned by the UAE's Aabar Investments, has opened its first branch in Abu Dhabi in a move to up the ante for private banks and develop the emirate's lucrative wealth management industry.

The Swiss bank will target high net worth individuals with a minimum wealth of $5 million (Dh18.3m).

Eduardo Leemann, chief executive of Falcon Private Bank, said: "This is a growing part of the world. The economy is growing, the wealth is growing, and the need for wealth management is growing as well."

Though a number of local and international banks have opened private banks in Abu Dhabi recently, Khadem al Qubaisi, chairman of Aabar Investments and managing director of International Petroleum Investment Company, said there was need for a local champion focused on investment products, rather than services alone.

"Most of the banks here are retail banks and started to create private banks. They're not doing a good job here.

"They established private banking but there's no products," he said.

Abu Dhabi's Vision 2030 strategy sets out the emirate as an asset management hub, and some local banks, including National Bank of Abu Dhabi, have courted this business aggressively.

Falcon, originally known as AIG Private Bank, was formerly a unit of American International Group, the insurance giant which was bailed out by the US government after the financial crisis.

AIG Private Bank was taken over by Aabar Investments in April 2009 and given a new lease of life as Falcon Private Bank.

The bank has $13 billion of assets under management worldwide, $600m of which is in the UAE.