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Swiss Julius Baer purchases Merrill Wealth units in UAE, Bahrain

Switzerland-based financial conglomerate Julius Baer Group has acquired Merrill Lynch’s International Wealth Management (IWM) businesses based in Lebanon, Bahrain and the UAE, for an undisclosed sum.

Besides strengthening its overall position in the important Middle Eastern wealth management market, the transaction will enable the Swiss private bank to gain new footholds in Beirut and Manama and boost its existing presence in Dubai.

Under the terms of the agreement, two offices of Merrill Lynch have transitioned over to Julius Baer’s existing business in Dubai. One is based in the free zone of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the other is in the domestic Dubai market.

Furthermore, the employees, client relationships and the majority of the assets of the Middle Eastern businesses have been transferred in early December 2013, while the entire process is anticipated to complete during the first quarter of 2014.

Julius Baer executive board member and Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa head Rémy Bersier said that the company is pleased to welcome 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," Bersier added.

Fred Hilal will join Julius Baer along with his teams from Merrill Lynch as head Middle East Domestic operation, according to the company.

In the Middle East, Julius Baer currently manages offices in Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Cairo, Dubai, Istanbul and Manama.

Until now, 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.

Photo courtesy of adamr.