(MENAFN Press) Julius Baer has announced today that Merrill Lynch's International Wealth Management (IWM) businesses based in Lebanon, Bahrain and the UAE have transferred to Julius Baer. Through this step, Julius Baer will gain new footholds in Beirut and Manama and strengthen its existing presence in Dubai, thus further enhancing its overall position in the important Middle Eastern wealth management market.
Julius Baer will acquire well-established businesses in all three locations. Merrill Lynch has run private banking activities for more than 50 years in Lebanon and for more than 35 years in Bahrain, forging close ties with the local business communities and authorities. During this time it has also built solid teams of long-serving financial advisors and support staff as well as a broad client base. In Dubai, two offices of Merrill Lynch transitioned over to Julius Baer's existing business, one based in the free zone of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and one based in the domestic Dubai market.
The employees, client relationships and the majority of the assets of the Middle Eastern businesses transferred in the first days of December 2013. The process is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2014.
Rmy A. Bersier, Member of the Executive Board of Julius Baer and Head Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: "I very much look forward to welcoming the new colleagues and clients. Gaining new footholds in the Middle Eastern markets of Lebanon and Bahrain and strengthening our existing Dubai presence is an important step for us and will enable us to further expand our footprint in this key growth region."
Fred Hilal, who joins Julius Baer along with his teams from Merrill Lynch as Head Middle East Domestic, said: "We are pleased to join Julius Baer. Thanks to the Bank's position as a leading pure private banking player with global reach, I am sure both clients and employees will benefit enormously from the unique investment knowledge and independent advice the combined businesses will provide. I am confident that we will be able to continue on our growth path and attract further talented relationship managers in the coming months and years."
In the Middle East, Julius Baer now has offices in Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Cairo, Dubai, Istanbul and Manama.
All major locations in transition phase
So far the businesses located in Switzerland, Uruguay, Chile, Luxembourg, Monaco, Hong Kong, Singapore, UK, Spain and Panama have started the transfer process as well and are moving ahead as planned. The integration phase which was launched in February 2013 is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2015, with the large majority of the assets under management planned to be transferred in 2013.
Merrill Lynch's International Wealth Management business outside the US and Japan is an excellent strategic fit for Julius Baer, strengthening the Group's presence in key growth markets around the globe and significantly enlarging its asset base.